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Keywords:

  • antipsychotic;
  • early-onset schizophrenia;
  • medication side effect;
  • metabolic syndrome;
  • psychosis

Abstract

Aim

Individuals with a diagnosis of schizophrenia have a reduced life expectancy compared with the general population and cardiovascular disease is the major contributor to this early mortality. The use of second-generation antipsychotic (SGA) medications is associated with significant weight gain and metabolic side effects; however, there is limited knowledge in certain diagnostic groups, specifically early-onset schizophrenia (EOS). This study aimed to investigate the metabolic side effects of SGAs, specifically olanzapine, risperidone and quetiapine, in a cohort of drug-naïve children and adolescents with first-episode EOS.

Method

Body mass index (BMI), serum cholesterol and triglycerides were measured at baseline and a median of 7 months of follow up in drug-naïve children and adolescents with EOS.

Results

A total of 49 children and adolescents received a diagnosis of first-episode EOS and we had complete follow-up data for 74% (N = 36). A significant increase in BMI, serum triglycerides and cholesterol was observed in the unselected cohort after commencement of SGAs. One-third of children and adolescents had abnormal serum triglycerides and cholesterol; however, a dose–response was not demonstrated. Olanzapine and quetiapine had a greater increase in serum triglycerides.

Conclusions

In addition to highlighting the need for routine screening for metabolic side effects in EOS, interventions to prevent and treat obesity and the metabolic syndrome are indicated.