Some Common Psychiatric Medications Associated With Pneumonia


Pneumonia cases in the elderly are strongly associated with use of anticholinergic medications, according to research in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. Some anticholinergics are used for treating psychiatric conditions, including benzodiazepines and tricyclic antidepressants.

“A team from the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle examined health and pharmacy data from 1,039 cases of pneumonia that occurred among their older, immune, competent patients (65-94) as well as 2,000 healthy controls of the same age and gender composition,” reported Psychiatric News. “They found that 59% of the pneumonia cases had one or more prescription fills of an anticholinergic 90 days or less before the diagnosis, compared with 35% of the healthy group. The pneumonia group also showed higher chronic anticholinergic use, with 53% of the patients having filled three or more prescriptions over the past year, compared with 36% of the controls.”

The researchers concluded that, “In older adults, anticholinergic medication use is associated with pneumonia risk, adding to substantial evidence suggesting that these medications are high risk.”

Paul, Kathleen J., Rod L. Walker, and Sascha Dublin. ‚ÄúAnticholinergic Medications and Risk of Community-Acquired Pneumonia in Elderly Adults: A Population-Based Case‚ÄďControl Study.‚ÄĚ Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, February 1, 2015, n/a ‚Äď n/a. doi:10.1111/jgs.13327. (Abstract)

Study Finds That Anticholingeric Medications Increase Risk of Pneumonia (Psychiatric News Alert, March 2, 2015)


  1. The neuroleptics are anticholinergic medications also – “Agents with anticholinergic properties (e.g., sedating antihistamines; antispasmodics; neuroleptics; phenothiazines; skeletal muscle relaxants; tricyclic antidepressants; disopyramide.”

    And the problem may be that doctors are misdiagnosing the central symptoms of anticholinergic intoxication syndrome, “memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, hallucinations, psychosis, delirium, hyperactivity, twitching or jerking movements, stereotypy, and seizures,” as a need for more of these meds?

    Since the psychiatric industry claims their neuroleptics cure the symptoms of this anticholinergic medication induced syndrome, which is almost exactly the same as today’s definition of schizophrenia.

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