International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy

, Volume 39, Issue 6, pp 1256–1264 | Cite as

Prevalence of QT interval prolonging drug–drug interactions (QT-DDIs) in psychiatry wards of tertiary care hospitals in Pakistan: a multicenter cross-sectional study

  • Qasim Khan
  • Mohammad IsmailEmail author
  • Iqbal Haider
  • Fahadullah Khan
Research Article


Background QT prolongation and associated arrhythmias, torsades de pointes (TdP), are considerable negative outcomes of many antipsychotic and antidepressant agents frequently used by psychiatric patients. Objective To identify the prevalence, levels, and predictors of QT prolonging drug–drug interactions (QT-DDIs), and AZCERT (Arizona Center for Education and Research on Therapeutics) classification of drugs involved in QT-DDIs. Setting Psychiatry wards of three major tertiary care hospitals of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. Method This was a multicenter cross-sectional study. Micromedex DrugReax was used for identification of QT-DDIs. TdP risks were identified by the AZCERT classification. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed to identify predictors of QT-DDIs. Main outcome measure Prevalence of QT-DDIs (overall, age-wise and gender-wise) and their levels of severity and documentation; AZCERT classes of drugs involved in QT-DDIs; and odds ratios for predictors of QT-DDIs. Results Of 600 patients, 58.5% were female. Median age was 25 years (IQR = 20–35). Overall 51.7% patients had QT-DDIs. Of total 698 identified QT-DDIs, most were of major-severity (98.4%) and fair-documentation (93.7%). According to the AZCERT classification, 36.4% of the interacting drugs were included in list-1 (known risk of TdP), 26.9% in list-2 (possible risk of TdP) and 27.5% in list-3 (conditional risk of TdP). Drugs commonly involved in QT-DDI were olanzapine (n = 146), haloperidol (138), escitalopram (122), risperidone (91), zuclopenthixol (87), quetiapine (n80) and fluoxetine (74). In multivariate logistic regression analysis, QT-DDIs were significantly associated with 6–7 prescribed medications (p = 0.04) and >7 medications (p = 0.03). Similarly, there was significant association of occurrence of QT-DDIs with 2–3 QT drugs (p < 0.001) and >3 QT drugs (p < 0.001). Conclusion A considerable number of patients are exposed to QT-DDIs in psychiatry. There is a need to implement protocol for monitoring the outcomes of QT-DDIs.


Drug interactions Pakistan Psychiatry QT prolongation Torsades de pointes 



We are very grateful to hospital administration, physicians and all other staff for their cooperation in this study.


No specific funding was received for this study.

Conflicts of interest

None to declare.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PharmacyUniversity of PeshawarPeshawarPakistan
  2. 2.Department of PharmacyCOMSATS Institute of Information TechnologyAbbottabadPakistan
  3. 3.Department of MedicineKhyber Teaching HospitalPeshawarPakistan

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