Clinical Studies| Volume 17, ISSUE 6, P1062-1077, November 1995

Risk of selected serious cardiac events among new users of antihistamines

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      This retrospective cohort study examined the risk of selected serious cardiac events in new users of either astemizole or sedating antihistamines identified from the COMPASS® Ohio Medicaid population of approximately 1 million active files per year (1986–1992). (COMPASS is an automated claims database.) There were 15,585 patients in the astemizole group and 30,105 in the sedating antihistamines group. Reports of ventricular arrhythmia or sudden death occurring within 30 days of the first antihistamine claim were identified from Medicaid claims. Medical records were obtained and reviewed by a clinician for validity of diagnoses. Records for patients without a full 30 days of follow-up were sought in the National Death Index. Death certificates were obtained for all patients who died within 30 days of the first antihistamine claim. Of 53 cases identified, 6 were in the astemizole group and 47 in the sedating antihistamines group. The relative risk for all selected cardiac events among astemizole users compared with sedating antihistamine users was 0.25 (95% confidence interval: 0.11 to 0.58), and this estimate did not change substantially when adjusted for age; sex; race; recent history of cardiovascular disease, arrhythmias, asthma/pulmonary disease, or malignant neoplasms; or concomitant prescription of other drugs. This study provided no evidence that astemizole users are at increased risk for cardiac events in the first month of use when compared with users of sedating antihistamines.
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