Cardiovascular Effects of Antipsychotics Used in Bipolar Illness

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Many antipsychotics are used to treat disorders other than schizophrenia, such as bipolar disorder. However, some of these agents are associated with cardiovascular side effects that can have serious or fatal implications for the patient. One dangerous side effect is QT prolongation, which can lead to torsades de pointes and ventricular arrhythmia. The group of drugs labeled as antipsychotics is diverse, making it challenging for the clinician to keep track of which agents cause which effects and important for the clinician to learn to identify signs of cardiovascular side effects and manage those events when they occur.

J Clin Psychiatry 2002;63(suppl 4):20-23