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The European Journal of Psychiatry

Print version ISSN 0213-6163


VAN NESTE, Els G.; VERBRUGGEN, Ward  and  LEYSEN, Mark. Deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism in psychiatric settings. Eur. J. Psychiat. [online]. 2009, vol.23, n.1, pp.19-30. ISSN 0213-6163.

Background and objectives: Deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism are serious, possibly life-threatening events which are often ignored in psychiatric settings. This article investigates which psychiatric patients are at increased risk of developing a venous thromboembolism. To our knowledge we are the first to perform a literature review of clinical studies relating venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism to psychotropic drugs and mental disorders. Methods: A Medline search for English studies using the appropriate search terms was performed. In addition, cross references of the relevant articles` literature references were considered. We withheld 12 observational studies, 29 case-reports and one review-article. Results: We found evidence that low potency antipsychotic drugs like chlorpromazine and thioridazine, and clozapine for treatment of resistant schizophrenia have an increased risk of venous thromboembolism. There is no evidence that antidepressants, benzodiazepines or mood stabilizers have a similar effect. Also psychiatric conditions like physical restraint, catatonia and neuroleptic malignant syndrome are related to a higher incidence of deep venous thrombosis. Conclusions: Limitations of the studies and hypotheses about underlying biological mechanisms are reviewed. The rationale for prophylactic measures is discussed and recommendations to prevent deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism are given.

Keywords : Venous thrombosis; Pulmonary embolism; Mental disorders; Antipsychotic drugs.

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