Psychiatrists fail to monitor patients for metabolic side-effects of medication

According to a new study in Psychological Medicine, people treated in psychiatric settings are receiving inadequate medical monitoring while taking antipsychotic medication

New research from the University of Leicester demonstrates that psychiatrists are not offering adequate checks for metabolic complications that are common in patients prescribed antipsychotic medication.

Patients treated with antipsychotic medication, especially those with schizophrenia, have a high rate of metabolic problems, for example up to 60% have lipid abnormalities, 40% have high blood pressure, and 30% suffer from the metabolic syndrome. Some estimate that 90% of patients treated with antipsychotic medication have at least one metabolic risk factor. Given this, there are strong reasons why patients under psychiatric care should be offered regular monitoring.

Researchers from the University of Leicester in the UK, Kortenberg, Belgium and Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York reviewed 48 studies (involving almost 300,000 individuals) conducted between 2000-2011 in five countries. The research found that only blood pressure and triglycerides were measured in more than half of patients who were under psychiatric care. Cholesterol, glucose and weight checks were offered to less than half. Monitoring was similar in US and UK studies and for both inpatients and outpatients.


Psychological Medicine