Journal Article

Risk Factors for Ileus in Patients with Schizophrenia

Jimmi Nielsen and Jonathan M. Meyer

in Schizophrenia Bulletin

Published on behalf of Maryland Psychiatric Research Center

Volume 38, issue 3, pages 592-598
Published in print May 2012 | ISSN: 0586-7614
Published online November 2010 | e-ISSN: 1745-1701 | DOI:
Risk Factors for Ileus in Patients with Schizophrenia

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Constipation is a known side effect of psychotropics that possess high affinity for muscarinic cholinergic receptors. In severe cases, constipation progresses to ileus and bowel ischemia, with multiple fatalities related to sepsis and perforation described in the literature, primarily among patients with schizophrenia. A historical prospective database study was performed using registry data from psychiatric and somatic hospitals, combined with the prescription database to examine associations between medications and ileus. Only cases with an ICD-10 diagnosis of schizophrenia (F20) and a concurrent diagnosis of ileus in the years 1996–2007 were included in the study. A total of 26 720 patients with schizophrenia were identified with 123 cases of ileus noted in the study period. Increasing age (OR: 1.03 CI: 1.01–1.04) and female sex (OR: 1.60 CI: 1.10–2.31) were associated with an increased risk of ileus. Treatment with clozapine (OR: 1.99 CI: 1.21–3.29), high-potency first-generation antipsychotics (OR: 1.81 CI: 1.01–3.23), tricyclic antidepressants (OR: 2.29 CI: 1.29–4.09), anticholinergics (OR: 1.48 CI: 1.00–2.19), and opioids (OR: 2.14 CI: 1.36–3.36) were associated with an increased risk of ileus. The onset of ileus occurred on average more than 3 years after the first prescription of the offending drug. Aripiprazole and amisulpride were not associated with ileus. Nine of the ileus cases (7.3%) had a fatal course. Treatment with clozapine (OR: 6.73 CI: 1.55–29.17) or anticholinergics (OR: 5.88 CI: 1.47–23.58) were associated with increased risk of fatal ileus. Patients receiving psychotropics associated with significant anticholinergic properties should undergo proper monitoring and interventions in order to minimize the burden of constipation and the risk of ileus.

Keywords: schizophrenia; clozapine/anticholinergic; TCA; antipsychotics; constipation

Journal Article.  4102 words. 

Subjects: Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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