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Cardiovascular Effects of Antipsychotics Used in Bipolar Illness

Robert W. Piepho, PhD, FCP

Published: April 1, 2002

Article Abstract

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 implicationsfor the patient. One dangerous side effect is QT prolongation, which can lead to torsades de pointesand ventricular arrhythmia. The group of drugs labeled as antipsychotics is diverse, making it challengingfor the clinician to keep track of which agents cause which effects and important for the clinician to learn toidentify signs of cardiovascular side effects and manage those events when they occur.

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