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Abnormalities of Glucose Metabolism Associated With Atypical Antipsychotic Drugs

John W. Newcomer, MD

Published: December 15, 2004

Article Abstract

The introduction of atypical antipsychotic drugs has provided a clear benefit for many schizophrenia patients, with less risk for the extrapyramidal side effects associated with conventional antipsychotics. However, some antipsychotics are associated with an increased risk of adverse metabolic outcomes, including weight gain, dyslipidemia, and hyperglycemia. Increases in adiposity and disturbances in glucose and lipid metabolism represent a serious health risk in a patient that may be predisposed to these metabolic conditions. The increased risk for diabetes with certain antipsychotics maybe associated with the risk of treatment-induced weight gain. However, other mechanisms, including effects on central neurotransmitters and direct effects on glucose metabolism, may contribute to the development of disordered glucose metabolism. The purpose of this article is to review the association between antipsychotic medications and obesity, insulin resistance, and diabetes, including the mechanisms through which these changes might be effected.

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