A 4-Fold Risk of Metabolic Syndrome in Patients With Schizophrenia: The Northern Finland 1966 Birth Cohort Study
J Clin Psychiatry 2005;66(5):559-563
© Copyright 2014 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.
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Objective: Schizophrenia is associated with a
shortened life expectancy and increased somatic comorbidity with,
e.g., cardiovascular disorders. One major risk factor for these
disorders is the metabolic syndrome, which has been reported to
have a higher frequency in schizophrenic patients. Our objective
was to study the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in a
population-based birth cohort.
Method: The study sample consisted of 5613
members of the Northern Finland 1966 Birth Cohort who
participated in the field study from 1997 to 1998. Subjects were
divided into 4 diagnostic categories (DSM-III-R): (1)
schizophrenia (N = 31), (2) other functional psychoses (N = 22), (3) nonpsychotic disorders (N = 105), and (4) no psychiatric hospital
treatment (N = 5455, comparison group). Subjects were assessed for
the presence of metabolic syndrome according to the criteria of
the National Cholesterol Education Program.
Results: The prevalence of metabolic syndrome
was higher in subjects with schizophrenia compared with the
comparison group (19% vs. 6%, p = .010). The prevalence of
metabolic syndrome in subjects with other psychoses was 5%. After
controlling for sex, the results of logistic regression analysis
showed that the risk of metabolic syndrome in schizophrenia was
3.7 (95% CI = 1.5 to 9.0).
Conclusions: The high prevalence of metabolic
syndrome in schizophrenia even at such a relatively young age
underscores the need to select antipsychotic medications with no
or little capability to induce metabolic side effects. Also,
developing comprehensive efforts directed at controlling weight
and diet and improving physical activity are needed.