-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, Aug. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Patients who take
antipsychotic medications aren't being adequately monitored for
dangerous health complications, researchers have found.
Known as "metabolic complications," these conditions are common
among patients taking antipsychotic drugs. For example, up to 60
percent have lipid (blood fat) abnormalities such as high
cholesterol, 40 percent have high blood pressure and 30 percent
have metabolic syndrome. It's believed that about 90 percent of
patients who take antipsychotic drugs have at least one metabolic
risk factor, the researchers said.
Metabolic syndrome is the name for a group of risk factors that
raise the risk for heart disease, diabetes and stroke. The risk
factors include abdominal obesity, high blood fat levels, high
blood pressure and high levels of blood sugar.
The risk of metabolic complications is especially high in
schizophrenia patients treated with antipsychotics, according to
the report published in the Aug. 10 online edition of the journal
Despite strong evidence of the need for regular monitoring of
patients taking antipsychotic drugs, it's overlooked in many cases,
the researchers from England, Belgium and the United States
The international team reviewed 48 studies conducted in five
countries between 2000 and 2011. The studies included a total of
nearly 300,000 patients.
Only blood pressure and triglycerides were checked in more than
half of the patients, while cholesterol, blood sugar (glucose) and
weight were checked in less than half.
"This study highlights that psychiatrists are not always considering the metabolic complications of prescribed medication," study author Dr. Alex Mitchell, of the University of Leicester, said in a university news release. "One explanation is that responsibility is often lost between psychiatry and general practice. We recommend that mental health providers schedule physical health checks as a mandatory part of routine care."
The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more about
mental health medications.
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