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Mortality and use of psychotropic medication in patients with stroke: a population-wide, register-based study
  1. Poul Jennum1,
  2. Lone Baandrup2,
  3. Helle K Iversen3,
  4. Rikke Ibsen4,
  5. Jakob Kjellberg5
  1. 1Faculty of Health Sciences, Danish Center for Sleep Medicine, Neurophysiology Clinic, University of Copenhagen, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark
  2. 2Center for Neuropsychiatric Schizophrenia Research & Center for Clinical Intervention and Neuropsychiatric Schizophrenia Research, Mental Health Center Glostrup, Copenhagen University Hospital, Glostrup, Denmark
  3. 3Stroke Unit, Department of Neurology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark
  4. 4i2minds, Aarhus, Denmark
  5. 5Danish National Institute for Local and Regional Government Research, Copenhagen, Denmark
  1. Correspondence to Dr Poul Jennum; poul.joergen.jennum{at}


Objectives The study sought to describe whether psychotropic medication may have long-term side effects in patients with stroke compared with controls.

Setting Use of national register data from healthcare services were identified from the Danish National Patient Registry in Denmark. Information about psychotropic medication use was obtained from the Danish Register of Medicinal Product Statistics.

Objectives We aimed to evaluate all-cause mortality in relation to the use of benzodiazepines, antidepressants and antipsychotics in patients with stroke and matched controls.

Participants Patients with a diagnosis of stroke and either no drug use or preindex use of psychotropic medication (n=49 968) and compared with control subjects (n=86 100) matched on age, gender, marital status and community location.

Primary outcome measure All-cause mortality.

Results All-cause mortality was higher in patients with previous stroke compared with control subjects. Mortality HRs were increased for participants prescribed serotonergic antidepressant drugs (HR=1.699 (SD=0.030), p=0.001 in patients; HR=1.908 (0.022), p<0.001 in controls, respectively), tricyclic antidepressants (HR=1.365 (0.045), p<0.001; HR=1.733 (0.022), p<0.001), benzodiazepines (HR=1.643 (0.040), p<0.001; HR=1.776 (0.053), p<0.001), benzodiazepine-like drugs (HR=1.776 (0.021), p<0.001; HR=1.547 (0.025), p<0.001), first-generation antipsychotics (HR=2.001 (0.076), p<0.001; HR=3.361 (0.159), p<0.001) and second-generation antipsychotics (HR=1.645 (0.070), p<0.001; HR=2.555 (0.086), p<0.001), compared with no drug use. Interaction analysis suggested statistically significantly higher mortality HRs for most classes of psychotropic drugs in controls compared with patients with stroke.

Conclusions All-cause mortality was higher in patients with stroke and controls treated with benzodiazepines, antidepressants and antipsychotics than in their untreated counterparts. Our findings suggest that care should be taken in the use and prescription of such drugs, and that they should be used in conjunction with adequate clinical controls.


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