HEALTH / WELL-BEING

Psychotropic Pharmacotherapy Associated With QT Prolongation Among Veterans With Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Article

This study aims to explore psychotropic drugs associated with QT prolongation among veterans with PTSD.

Abstract

In 2012, the Food and Drug Administration issued Drug Safety Communications on several drugs associated with QT prolongation and fatal ventricular arrhythmias. Among these was citalopram, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) approved for depression and commonly used for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Evaluation of the risk for QT prolongation among other psychotropic drugs for individuals with PTSD remains limited. Objective: Explore psychotropic drugs associated with QT prolongation among veterans with PTSD. Methods: Patients in the Veterans Health Administration in 2006-2009 with PTSD and QT prolongation (176 cases) were matched 1:4 on age, gender, visit date and setting, and physical comorbidity. Classification trees assessed QT prolongation risk among prescribed medications (n=880). Results: Receipt of any drug with known risk of QT prolongation varied by group (23% QT cases vs 15% control, p<0.01). Psychotropic medications conferring significant risks included ziprasidone (3% vs 1%, p=0.02) and buspirone (6% vs 2%, p=0.01). Increased risk was not observed for the SSRIs, citalopram and fluoxetine. Classification trees found that sotalol and amitriptyline carried greater risk among cardiac patients and methadone, especially if prescribed with quetiapine, among noncardiac patients. Per adjusted survival model, patients with QT prolongation were at increased risk for death (hazard ratio=1.60; 95% CI=1.04-2.44). Conclusions: Decision models are particularly advantageous when exploring nonlinear relationships or nonadditive interactions. These findings may potentially affect clinical decision-making concerning treatment for PTSD. For patients at higher risk of QT prolongation, antidepressants other than amitriptyline should be considered. Medications for comorbid conditions should also be closely monitored for heightened QT prolongation risk.

Full Reference

Stock, E M. ; Zeber, J E. ; McNeal, C J. ; Banchs, J E. ; Copeland, L A. (2018). Psychotropic Pharmacotherapy Associated With QT Prolongation Among Veterans With Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Annals of pharmacotherapy, Vol: 52 (9). p. 838-848.