Tranquilizers, whether antianxiety or antipsychotic agents, and antidepressants have effects on the cardiovascular system that are often overlooked by physicians. These effects can range from beneficial mildly antiarrhythmic actions to ECG changes that mimic those seen in MI, to heart block, ventricular fibrillation, and even death. Knowing which drugs are likely to produce which effects is the key to safe prescribing of these widely used and beneficial agents.
Tranquilizers, including both antianxiety and antipsychotic agents, and antidepressants are among the most frequently prescribed drugs in the United States today. Yet it is not widely enough appreciated that many of these agents have significant cardiovascular effects, some favorable and some adverse. This article will serve as a brief review of our knowledge concerning these psychotropic agents' effects on the cardiovascular system.