Long term use of mental illness drugs ‘does not shorten life expectancy’
Long term use of antipsychotic medication is highlighted as one of the reasons people with schizophrenia have a lower life expectancy than people without the ailment.
In most cases, people with schizophrenia have an average life expectancy, that is, 10 to 20 years lower.
But, a new medical study on the effects of long term antipsychotic drug use has dispelled these concerns.
According to the study, conducted by researchers from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, mortality tends to be higher during periods when patients are not on long term medication than when they are on medication.
At the same time, the medical team discovered that the likelihood of being hospitalised for a somatic disease — which is a form of mental illness — was just as high during the periods when the patients were on antipsychotic drugs as when they were not.
This study also dispelled previous fears that treatment for schizophrenia could result in rapid weight gain Medicand exposure to risk of cardiovascular disease. “Treatment with antipsychotic drugs does not increase the likelihood of hospitalisation for cardiovascular disease. These drugs have an antihypertensive effect and can reduce anxiety and the risk of substance abuse,” the report said.
Alarmingly, the study noted that only half of those who have been discharged from hospital after their first psychotic episode with a schizophrenia diagnosis take the prescribed antipsychotic drugs.
These findings were published in the journal World Psychiatry. In 2017, scientists pinpointed a part of the brain where “voices” torment schizophrenia patients, and partially muted them with magnetic pulse treatment.