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Eur Psychiatry. 2010 Jun;25 Suppl 2:S6-11. doi: 10.1016/S0924-9338(10)71700-4.

Physical health in schizophrenia: a challenge for antipsychotic therapy.

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Ward 7 Office, Leighton Hospital, Middlewich Road, Crewe, Cheshire CW1 4QJ, UK.


In the management of schizophrenia, mental health outcomes are the principal focus of treatment. The objective is to control the psychotic symptoms while minimising negative features of the illness, to achieve an overall improvement in the societal functioning of patients. Physical health is also important because if it is compromised, many of the benefits of improved mental health will be offset. Compared with the general population, schizophrenia patients are at increased risk of weight gain, abdominal obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular disease. These physical health problems can contribute to the decreased quality of life, lowered self-esteem and reduced life expectancy commonly reported in schizophrenia. For these reasons there is a pressing need to improve both the monitoring and the management of physical health in patients with schizophrenia as a part of their overall care. A consensus for metabolic monitoring of patients receiving treatment with antipsychotic drugs is available. However, the practicing clinician requires guidance about management of physical health in routine clinical practice. This should include recommendations for measurements that have strong predictive value about physical health risks yet are easy to make, and about the use of medications that have the least effect on physical health parameters. This article will review the gravity of the physical health risks facing schizophrenia patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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