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Morbidity and mortality of women and men with intellectual and developmental disabilities newly initiating antipsychotic drugs


Background — While up to 45% of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) have a comorbid psychiatric disorder, and antipsychotics are commonly prescribed, gender differences in the safety of antipsychotics have rarely been studied in this population.

Aims — To compare men and women with IDD on medical outcomes after antipsychotic initiation.

Method — Our population-based study in Ontario, Canada, compared 1457 women and 1951 men with IDD newly initiating antipsychotic medication on risk for diabetes mellitus, hypertension, venous thromboembolism, myocardial infarction, stroke and death, with up to 4 years of follow-up.

Results — Women were older and more medically complex at baseline. Women had higher risks for venous thromboembolism (HR 1.72, 95% CI 1.15–2.59) and death (HR 1.46, 95% CI 1.02–2.10) in crude analyses; but only thromboembolism risk was greater for women after covariate adjustment (aHR 1.58, 95% CI 1.05–2.38).

Conclusions — Gender should be considered in decision-making around antipsychotic medications for individuals with IDD.



Vigod SN, Lunsky Y, Cobigo V, Wilton AS, Somerton S, Seitz DP. BJPsych Open. 2016; 2(2):188-94.

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