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Hematological Side Effects of Atypical Antipsychotic Drugs

Serap Erdošan.

Abstract
Atypical antipsychotics cause less frequently extrapyramidal system symptoms, neuroleptic malignant syndrome and hyperprolactinemia than typical antipsychotics. However hematological side effects such as leukopenia and neutropenia could occur during treatment with atypical antipsychotics. These side effects could lead to life threatening situations and the mortality rate due to drug related agranulocytosis is about 5-10%. There are several hypothesis describing the mechanisms underlying drug induced leukopenia and/or neutropenia such as direct toxic effects of these drugs upon the bone marrow or myeloid precursors, immunologic destruction of the granulocytes or supression of the granulopoiesis. Clozapine is the antipsychotic agent which has been most commonly associated with agranulocytosis. A nitrenium ion which is formed by the bioactivation of clozapine is thought to have an important role in the pathophysiogy of this adverse effect. Aside from clozapine, there are several case reports reporting an association between olanzapine, quetiapine, risperidone, ziprasidone, aripiprazole and leukopenia. We did not find any study or case report presenting amisulpride or sulpride related hematological side effects in our literature search. Patients who had hematological side effects during their previous antipsychotic drug treatments and who had lower baseline blood leukocyte counts, have higher risk to develop leukopenia or neutropenia during their current antipsychotic treatment. Once leukopenia and neutropenia develops, drugs thought to be responsible for this side effect should be discontinued or dosages should be lowered. In some cases iniatition of lithium or G-CSF (granulocyte colony-stimulating factor) therapy may be helpful in normalizing blood cell counts. Clinicans should avoid any combination of drugs known to cause hematological side effects. Besides during antipsychotic treatment, infection symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat or fatigue should be evaluated closely and routinely. In this review, all up to date studies including case reports presenting or searching for atypical antipsychotic drugs related hematological side effects have been reviewed and possible mechanisms leading to these adverse effects and suggested treatment modalities have been discussed..

Key words: Atypical antipsychotics, hematological side effects, leukopenia



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