Friday, January 2, 2015

Patients With First-Episode Schizophrenia Disorders Show Greater Body Fat, Cardiovascular Risk, Study Finds

The duration of psychiatric illness and treatment for patients after first-episode schizophrenia spectrum disorders (FES) appears to be associated with weight gain and having other cardiometabolic abnormalities, according to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry.

Christoph Correll, M.D., a professor of psychiatry and molecular medicine at the Zucker Hillside Hospital in New York, and colleagues studied approximately 400 patients with FES to assess potential cardiometabolic risk and its relationship to illness duration and treatment with antipsychotics. The mean age of the patients was 23.6.

Data showed that when evaluated after experiencing FES, nearly 50% were obese or overweight, 40% had prehypertension, 10% had hypertension, and 13.2% had some form of metabolic syndrome. Longer psychiatric illness duration correlated significantly with higher body mass index, fat percentage, and waist circumference. Treatment with antipsychotic medications, such as olanzapine and quetiapine, was associated with higher triglyceride levels in the blood.

The researchers concluded that “in patients with FES, cardiometabolic risk factors and abnormalities are present early in the illness and likely related to the underlying illness, unhealthy lifestyle, and [use of] antipsychotic medications, which interact with each other. Prevention of and early interventions for psychiatric illness and treatment with lower-risk agents, routine antipsychotic adverse effect monitoring, and smoking-cessation interventions are needed from the earliest illness phases.”

To read more about research into cardiovascular risk associated with psychiatric illness and use of psychotropic medications, see the Psychiatric News articles, "Depression Should Be Listed as Heart Disease Risk, Says AHA Panel" and FDA Responds to AJP Manuscript on Citalopram Safety." For more on this topic, see the study "State Partnerships for First-Episode Psychosis Services" published today in Psychiatric Services in Advance.

(Photo Courtesy of Zucker Hillside Hospital)


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