Background Antipsychotic (AP) polypharmacy (APP), the coprescription of more than 1 AP, is frequently practiced in psychiatric inpatients and is considered to be a risk factor for adverse drug events (ADEs). However, the association between APP and ADEs among psychiatric inpatients has not been well investigated. Methods The Japan Adverse Drug Events (JADE) study was a series of cohort studies conducted in several clinical settings. In particular, the JADE study for psychiatric inpatients was a retrospective cohort study of 448 psychiatric inpatients with a cumulative 22,733 patient-days. We investigated the relationship between APP, defined as a concurrent prescription of 2 or more APs and ADEs. We also assessed the relationship between potential risk factors for ADEs due to APs. Results Among the 448 patients included in this study, 106 patients (24%) had APP and the remaining 342 patients were prescribed 1 AP or none. Risperidone was the most frequent drug (25%, 109/442 AP prescriptions) used, and levomepromazine was most frequently prescribed as a concurrent medication with other APs (91%, 29/32). The median number of ADEs among the patients with APP was significantly higher than in those without APP (P = 0.001). Antipsychotic polypharmacy was a risk factor for the occurrence of first (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.54; 95% confidence interval, 1.15-2.04) and second (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.99; 95% confidence interval, 1.40-2.79) ADEs. Conclusions Antipsychotic polypharmacy was a risk factor for the occurrence of single and multiple ADEs. Antipsychotic polypharmacy should be conservatively and minimally practiced.
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