While antipsychotic use has been previously linked to risk of falls among older persons, its association with risk of head injuries among those with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) has to date remained unclear. A nationwide register-based cohort study in Finland has addressed this possibility, analysing incident antipsychotic users diagnosed with AD, matched with non-users by age, sex and time since diagnosis (21,795 matched pairs). Outcomes included hospitalisation or death due to incident head injuries or traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), with relative risks being evaluated through inverse probability of treatment (IPT) weighted Cox proportional hazard models. Antipsychotic use was associated with risk of head injuries (event rate per 100 person‐years = 1.65 [95% CI = 1.50‐1.81] for users and 1.26 [95% CI = 1.16‐1.37] for nonusers; IPT‐weighted hazard ratio [HR] = 1.29 [95% CI = 1.14‐1.47]) and TBIs (event rate per 100 person‐years = 0.90 [95% CI = 0.79‐1.02] for users and 0.72 [95% CI = 0.65‐0.81] for nonusers; IPT‐weighted HR = 1.22 [95% CI = 1.03‐1.45]). These findings suggest that antipsychotics should be used with caution in persons with AD as they may lead to an increased risk of head injuries and TBIs. The full paper can be viewed here.

Contributed by Australian Medication Safety Services Associate – Isabella Singh