Treatment with psychotropic drugs is frequently associated with obesity, dislipidemia, hyperglycaemia and hypertension, resulting in the development of the metabolic syndrome which in turn is an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus. The atypical antipsychotics clozapine and olanzapine have the most pronounced effect on metabolic parameters. Over the past years, several studies using the definitions of the so called Third Adult Treatment Panel (ATP-III) of the National Cholesterol Education Program, demonstrated a high prevalence of metabolic syndrome in schizophrenic patients treated with atypical antipsychotics.
The present study includes a total of 96 clozapine-treated inpatients. A total of 34 patients had to be excluded because of refusal tot participate (n=23) or not meeting the DSM-IV criteria for psychotic disorders (n=11). Finally, 62 patients (male: 46; female: 16; mean age: 49 ± 14.2 years; mean duration of clozapine treatment: 9.2 years; current dose: 331.5mg daily) were evaluated according to ATP-III criteria. Other parameters that were collected comprised co-medication, smoking status and alcohol use.
Metabolic syndrome was found in 60% of the patients and was associated with female gender. No association was found between metabolic syndrome and duration of clozapine treatment. Frequencies of the individual components were 92% for dyslipidemia, 43% for obesity, 36% for hypertension, 18% for impaired fasting glucose and 18% for diabetes mellitus type 2.
Metabolic syndrome is highly prevalent among patients with psychotic disorders who are treated with clozapine. Additional factors like unhealthy life stile, inactivity and co-medication, emerge as major treatment targets.