Exploring a Safety Signal of Antipsychotic-Associated Pneumonia: A Pharmacovigilance-Pharmacodynamic Study

Dainora Cepaityte, Spyridon Siafis, Toine Egberts, Stefan Leucht, Dimitrios Kouvelas, Georgios Papazisis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


An association between antipsychotic drugs and pneumonia has been demonstrated in several studies; however, the risk for pneumonia caused by specific antipsychotics has not been extensively studied. The underlying mechanism is still unknown, and several receptor mechanisms have been proposed. Therefore, using a combined pharmacovigilance-pharmacodynamic approach, we aimed to investigate safety signals of US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved antipsychotics for reporting pneumonia and the potential receptor mechanisms involved. A disproportionality analysis was performed to detect a signal for reporting "infective-pneumonia"and "pneumonia-aspiration"and antipsychotics using reports submitted between 2004 and 2019 to the FDA adverse events spontaneous reporting system (FAERS) database. Disproportionality was estimated using the crude and the adjusted reporting odds ratio (aROR) and its 95% confidence interval (CI) in a multivariable logistic regression. Linear regressions investigated the relationship between aROR and receptor occupancy, which was estimated using in vitro receptor-binding profiles. Safety signals for reporting infective-pneumonia were identified for clozapine (LL = 95% 3.4, n = 546 [aROR: 4.8]) as well as olanzapine (LL = 95% 1.5, n = 250 [aROR: 2.1]) compared with haloperidol, while aRORs were associated with higher occupancies of muscarinic receptors (beta =. 125, P-value =. 016), yet other anti-muscarinic drugs were not included as potential confounders. No safety signals for reporting pneumonia-aspiration were detected for individual antipsychotics. Multiple antipsychotic use was associated with both reporting infective-pneumonia (LL 95%: 1.1, n = 369 [aROR:1.2]) and pneumonia-aspiration (LL 95%: 1.7, n = 194 [aROR: 2.0]). Considering the limitations of disproportionality analysis, further pharmacovigilance data and clinical causality assessment are needed to validate this safety signal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)672-681
Number of pages10
JournalSchizophrenia bulletin
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 29 Apr 2021


  • antipsychotics
  • disproportionality
  • pneumonia
  • safety signal


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