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Compared with the general population, individuals with schizophrenia have a higher risk of periodontal disease, which can potentially reduce their life expectancy. However, evidence for the early development of periodontal disease in schizophrenia is scant. The current study investigated risk factors for periodontal disease in patients newly diagnosed with schizophrenia.
We identified a population-based cohort of patients in Taiwan with newly diagnosed schizophrenia who developed periodontal disease within 1 year of their schizophrenia diagnosis. Treatment with antipsychotics and other medications was categorised according to medication type and duration, and the association between medication use and the treated periodontal disease was assessed through logistic regression.
Among 3610 patients with newly diagnosed schizophrenia, 2373 (65.7%) had an incidence of treated periodontal disease during the 1-year follow-up. Female sex (adjusted odds ratios [OR] 1.40; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.20–1.63); young age (adjusted OR 0.99; 95% CI 0.98–0.99); a 2-year history of periodontal disease (adjusted OR 2.45; 95% CI 1.84–3.26); high income level (adjusted OR 2.24; 95% CI 1.64–3.06) and exposure to first-generation (adjusted OR 1.89; 95% CI 1.54–2.32) and secondary-generation (adjusted OR 1.33; 95% CI 1.11–1.58) antipsychotics, anticholinergics (adjusted OR 1.24; 95% CI 1.03–1.50) and antihypertensives (adjusted OR 1.91; 95% CI 1.64–2.23) were independent risk factors for periodontal disease. Hyposalivation – an adverse effect of first-generation antipsychotics (FGAs) (adjusted OR 2.00; 95% CI 1.63–2.45), anticholinergics (adjusted OR 1.27; 95% CI 1.05–1.53) and antihypertensives (adjusted OR 1.90; 95% CI 1.63–2.22) – was associated with increased risk of periodontal disease. Therefore, hypersalivation due to FGA use (adjusted OR 0.72; 95% CI 0.59–0.88) was considered a protective factor.
The current study highlights that early prevention of periodontal disease in individuals with schizophrenia is crucial. Along with paying more attention to the development of periodontal disease, assessing oral health regularly, helping with oral hygiene, and lowering consumption of sugary drinks and tobacco, emphasis should also be given by physicians to reduce the prescription of antipsychotics to the extent possible under efficacious pharmacotherapy for schizophrenia.