Treatment of schizophrenics with some antipsychotic drugs has been associated with an increased incidence of hyperglycemia and new-onset type 2 diabetes. Some of these drugs also inhibit glucose transport in rat pheochromocytoma (PC12) cells. The current study was designed to examine the effects of the atypical antipsychotic drugs--risperidone, clozapine and analogs of clozapine on glucose uptake in PC12 cells. Glucose transport was measured in cells incubated with vehicle or drug over a range of concentrations (0.2-100 microM). Uptake of 3H-2-deoxyglucose was measured over 5 min and the data were normalized on the basis of total cell protein. Risperidone and clozapine inhibited glucose transport in a dose-dependent fashion with IC(50)'s estimated to be 35 and 20 microM, respectively. The clozapine metabolite, desmethylclozapine, was considerably more potent than the parent drug, whereas clozapine N-oxide was essentially inactive. The structural analogs of clozapine, loxapine and amoxapine, both inhibited glucose transport with amoxapine being the least potent. The ability of the drugs to inhibit glucose transport was significantly decreased by including 2-deoxyglucose (5 mM) in the uptake medium. Schild analysis of the glucose sensitivity of clozapine, loxapine and risperidone indicated that 2-deoxyglucose non-competitively antagonized the inhibitory effects of these drugs. Moreover, clozapine and fluphenazine inhibited glucose transport in the rat muscle cell line, L6. These studies suggest that the drugs may block glucose accumulation directly at the level of the glucose transporter (GLUT) protein in cells derived from both peripheral and brain tissue. Furthermore, this work may provide clues about how the antipsychotic drugs produce hyperglycemia in vivo.