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Med J Aust. 2009 Feb 16;190(4):185-9.

Screening for the metabolic syndrome in patients receiving antipsychotic treatment: a proposed algorithm.

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  • 1School of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, University of Western Australia, Perth, WA, Australia.


The metabolic syndrome (MetS) is a well described cluster of interrelated risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. The key components of MetS are central obesity, hypertension, hyperglycaemia and dyslipidaemia. The 2005 International Diabetes Federation (IDF) consensus definition of MetS aimed to reduce confusion over criteria for MetS and to provide a simple diagnostic and clinical tool. There is considerable evidence to show that patients prescribed antipsychotic drugs are at increased risk of developing MetS. Existing clinical guidelines for metabolic screening of patients taking antipsychotics focus on diabetes rather than on the broader syndrome of MetS and are not consistent with the IDF definition of MetS. Monitoring for MetS in patients taking antipsychotics (both inpatients and outpatients) is generally poor. We present a user-friendly clinical algorithm and monitoring form, based on current evidence and using the IDF definition of MetS, to help clinicians in primary care or specialist settings to effectively monitor for MetS in these patients.

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