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Analysis published in The Lancet Psychiatry has shown that there is significant difference in the way antipsychotic drugs affect body weight and levels of sugar, cholesterol and other fats in the blood.

Image shows fist holding weighing scales, with a heart balanced on the left and the brain on the right.

This new study, undertaken by a team of researchers including Professor Andrea Cipriani from the Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, and the NIHR Oxford Health Biomedical Research Centre, shows for the first time where medications have been ranked according to side effects. The researchers aimed to investigate the possible contribution of antipsychotics to the poorer physical health of people with schizophrenia.

Antipsychotics are commonly used to treat patients with schizophrenia, but some newer drugs – the so-called second-generation antipsychotics – are associated with a range of side effects known to put individuals at risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This is particularly relevant because, compared with the general population, people with schizophrenia are twice as likely to have a diagnosis and die from cardiovascular disease.


We found that baseline body-weight, male gender, and non-Caucasian ethnicity predict greater vulnerability to antipsychotic-induced metabolic dysregulation. We also showed that improvements in the overall severity of symptoms are associated with increases in weight, BMI, total-cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol levels, and decreases in HDL cholesterol levelsProfessor Andrea Cipriani, Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford


It is hoped that the results of the study will be reflected in treatment guidelines to help doctors and patients choose the best drug treatment weighing up treatment benefits for symptoms against the risk of metabolic and other side effects.

To see the full press release.








To read the study, Comparative effects of 18 antipsychotics on metabolic function in patients with schizophrenia, predictors of metabolic dysregulation, and association with psychopathology: a systematic review and network meta-analysis.


Please follow the link below to read the news on the NIHR BRC website.