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Can J Psychiatry. 2006 Jul;51(8):492-501.

Metabolic monitoring for patients treated with antipsychotic medications.

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Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Ontario.



Metabolic side effects of antipsychotic treatment include weight gain, dyslipidemia and increased susceptibility to diabetes. Patients with schizophrenia have increased coronary heart disease mortality and reduced life expectancy. There is an urgent clinical need to monitor antipsychotic-treated patients for metabolic disturbance. Our objectives were to review published international monitoring guidelines, establish goals for metabolic monitoring, and make recommendations for practice.


We reviewed the major published consensus guidelines for metabolic monitoring of patients treated with antipsychotic medications and selectively reviewed practice guidelines for the management of diabetes, dyslipidemia, and hypertension.


Patients with serious mental illness have markedly elevated rates of metabolic disturbance and limited access to general medical care. Monitoring, but not necessarily medical treatment of metabolic disorder, falls within the scope of psychiatric practice and should include screening for metabolic disturbance as well as tracking the effects of antipsychotic treatment. In addition, psychiatrists and psychiatric services should work toward facilitating patients' access to medical care. There is considerable consensus in the published guidelines. Areas of dissent include which patients to monitor, the utility of glucose tolerance testing, and the point at which to consider switching antipsychotics.


We encourage clinicians to adopt a structured system for conducting and recording metabolic monitoring and to develop collaborations with family physicians, diabetes specialists, dieticians, and recreation therapists to facilitate appropriate medical care for antipsychotic-treated patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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