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Metabolic Complications of Schizophrenia and Antipsychotic Medications — An Updated Review

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of risk factors comprising obesity, dyslipidaemias, glucose intolerance, insulin resistance (or hyperinsulinaemia), and hypertension, and is highly predictive of type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease. The life expectancy of people with schizophrenia is reduced by 20%, with 60% of the excess mortality due to physical illness. Schizophrenia itself may be a risk factor for metabolic syndrome and there is also increasing concern that antipsychotic drugs, particularly secondgeneration antipsychotics, have metabolic consequences that contribute to the risk. Various diagnostic guidelines, updated facts with regard to epidemiology, pathophysiology, risk factors, and complications of metabolic syndrome are discussed in this review. Moreover, the impact of various antipsychotics on metabolic syndrome and their possible mechanisms are comprehensively reviewed. The authors emphasise that, while many adults with schizophrenia receive little or no medical care, such care is important given the risk of metabolic abnormalities associated not only with antipsychotic medications, but also with schizophrenia in general.

Key words: Antipsychotic agents; Metabolic syndrome X; Metabolism; Schizophrenia

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