Metabolic disturbances associated with antipsychotic drug treatment in patients with schizophrenia: State-of-the-art and future perspectives

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Metabolic disturbances and obesity are major cardiovascular risk factors in patients with schizophrenia, resulting in a higher mortality rate and shorter life expectancy compared with those in the general population. Although schizophrenia and metabolic disturbances may share certain genetic or pathobiological risks, antipsychotics, particularly those of second generation, may further increase the risk of weight gain and metabolic disturbances in patients with schizophrenia. This review included articles on weight gain and metabolic disturbances related to antipsychotics and their mechanisms, monitoring guidelines, and interventions. Nearly all antipsychotics are associated with weight gain, but the degree of the weight gain varies considerably. Although certain neurotransmitter receptor-binding affinities and hormones are correlated with weight gain and specific metabolic abnormalities, the precise mechanisms underlying antipsychotic-induced weight gain and metabolic disturbances remain unclear. Emerging evidence indicates the role of genetic polymorphisms associated with antipsychotic-induced weight gain and antipsychotic-induced metabolic disturbances. Although many guidelines for screening and monitoring antipsychotic-induced metabolic disturbances have been developed, they are not routinely implemented in clinical care. Numerous studies have also investigated strategies for managing antipsychotic-induced metabolic disturbances. Thus, patients and their caregivers must be educated and motivated to pursue a healthier life through smoking cessation and dietary and physical activity programs. If lifestyle intervention fails, switching to another antipsychotic drug with a lower metabolic risk or adding adjunctive medication to mitigate weight gain should be considered. Antipsychotic medications are essential for schizophrenia treatment, hence clinicians should monitor and manage the resulting weight gain and metabolic disturbances.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)696-710
Number of pages15
JournalWorld journal of psychiatry
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 19 2021


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