[Atypical antipsychotic induced weight gain and metabolic disorders].Rev Med Chil. 2009 Jan; 137(1):106-14.RM
The advent of new antipsychotic drugs has improved the treatment of schizophrenic patients as well as those suffering from other severe psychiatric disorders. Its widespread use, however, has been associated to the development of obesity and metabolic disturbances such as diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia and increased coronary risk. This has caused a serious concern, due to the high cardiovascular mortality that prematurely affects these patients. The etiology of these abnormalities is still a matter of debate, although it is generally believed that the new antipsychotic drugs have a control stimulating effect on appetite, and their use is associated to an increased level of cortisol and to an insulin-resistance state. In addition, there is an increase in inflammatory mediator and cytokine production, induced by the pathophysiology of the schizophrenic process itself and also caused by the direct action of the antipsychotic drugs. In spite of the mounting evidence, the metabolic management of these patients is still deficient. A close follow-up in the initial stages of the antipsychotic treatment is recommended, as well as giving advice about diet and physical exercise. Finally, when obesity or other conditions associated to metabolic syndrome appear, the recommendation is to switch to drugs with less secondary effects or to add adjuvant medications to improve the overall evolution of these patients.