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Sunday 07 May 2006

Antipsychotic drug-induced changes in metabolism.

By: Engl J, Tschoner A, Laimer M, Rettenbacher M, Wolfgang Fleischhacker W, Patsch J

Antipsychotic medications are a mainstay in the treatment of schizophrenia and are widely used in other psychiatric conditions. New generation antipsychotic agents (NGAs) are increasingly replacing first generation antipsychotic agents (FGAs), mainly due to a decreased risk for extrapyramidal symptoms, better overall tolerability, as well as some efficacy advantages.

However, some of these NGAs are associated with adverse metabolic effects such as substantial weight gain, the induction of insulin resistance and lipid disorders. Among these substances, clozapine and olanzapine induce the most significant weight gain, olanzapine mainly by increasing body fat and both of these antipsychotics have been associated with disturbances in glucose metabolism.

Diabetes mellitus induced by treatment with some NGAs occurred in many cases within days to weeks after initiation of SGA therapy, in some cases hyperglycemia promptly resolved after discontinuation of the medication and several reports have documented recurrent hyperglycemia after a rechallenge with the same drug. One possible pathomechanism for hyperglycemia induced by these NGAs is the induction of insulin resistance via humoral and/or cellular pathways.

Alternatively, NGA induced diabetes may occur because of weight gain or a change in body fat distribution with a shift to a predominantly visceral fat type or through a direct effect on insulin sensitive target tissues. In this article we like to review the metabolic side effects of NGA treatment, highlight recent advances in the pathogenesis of these metabolic complications and discuss potential treatments of these side effects.

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