Background: Antipsychotic (AP) medications is the cornerstone treatment for schizophrenia and some other psychiatric diseases. However, some observational studies suggest that these medications might increase the risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE) and pulmonary embolism (PE).
Objectives: The aim of this study was to assess whether AP medications are associated with the development of VTE or PE, and to assess the risk based on any type of AP drugs, quality of studies and after adjustment of risk factors.
Data sources: To identify relevant studies, we searched PubMed and EMBASE databases up to February 2019. We also searched the reference lists of relevant articles for relevant studies.
Study selection: Twenty studies fulfilled the eligibility criteria and were included in our meta-analysis after screening relevant observational cohort and case-control studies.
Primary outcome: The primary outcome of our meta-analysis was the occurrence of all VTE or PE only attributed to exposure to AP medication compared with non-exposure to AP medications.
Results: Exposure to AP drugs was associated with a significant increase in the risk of VTE (RR 1.53, 95 % CI 1.30-1.80, I2 = 85 %) and PE (RR 3.69, 95 % CI 1.23-11.07, I2 = 90 %). In the subgroup meta-analysis, the use of low-potency AP drugs was associated with a higher risk of VTE, (RR 1.90, 95 % CI 1.04-3.47, I2 = 78 %).
Conclusions: AP exposure was associated with a 1.5-fold increase in the risk of VTE and a 3.7-fold increase in the risk of PE. Low-potency AP drugs were associated with a higher risk of VTE. However, high heterogeneity among studies limits the generalizability of the results.