Study: Antipsychotic Medications Linked to Serious Health Problems

Study: Antipsychotic Medications Linked to Serious Health ProblemsIn a recent study published in the medical journal Psychological Medicine, researchers found that patients who are prescribed antipsychotic drugs are not being properly monitored for serious side effects once the medication has been administered, HealthDay reports.

According to the news source, the study found that "metabolic complications" were common among patients taking various antipsychotic drugs. Of the patients studied, 60 percent now have lipid abnormalities that have resulted in high cholesterol, 40 percent were found to have high blood pressure and 30 percent were diagnosed with a condition known as metabolic syndrome.

According to the National Library of Medicine, metabolic syndrome arises when a group of risk factors are found together in one person, and greatly increases risk for coronary artery disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. The risk factors were also assessed, and included abdominal obesity, high blood fat level, high blood pressure and high blood sugar levels.

Researchers found that metabolic complications from the medicines were especially high in schizophrenia patients, HealthDay stated.

The study, which was conducted by scientists from England, Belgium and the United States, found that despite the evidence that suggests a need for better monitoring of patients prescribed antipsychotic medications, it is very often overlooked. The researchers analyzed 48 previous studies from the past 11 years and included almost 300,000 patients.

In all of the cases, only triglycerides and blood pressure were regularly checked in about half of the patients.

"This study highlights that psychiatrists are not always considering the metabolic complications of prescribed medication," Dr. Alex Mitchell, of the University of Leicester and lead study author, said in a recent news release. "We recommend that mental health providers schedule physical health checks as a mandatory part of routine care."