Abnormal glucose metabolism in patients treated with antipsychotics

Diabetes Metab. 2007 Jun;33(3):169-75. doi: 10.1016/j.diabet.2007.01.003. Epub 2007 Apr 6.


Second-generation (atypical) antipsychotic medications are of great benefit to a wide variety of people with psychiatric disorders, especially patients with schizophrenia. However, one constellation of adverse effects is an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. Increasing numbers of reports concerning impaired glucose tolerance, diabetes, and ketoacidosis have raised concerns about a possible association between abnormal glucose metabolism and treatment with atypical antipsychotics, although the question is still debated because of the presence of many confounding factors. A close relationship between drug-induced weight gain and risk of diabetes has been reported, emphasizing the role of insulin resistance. However, some cases of diabetes developed independently of weight gain, rather rapidly and possibly progressing to ketoacidosis, thus arguing for a severe impairment of insulin secretion. Another debated question is whether diabetes risk is a class action or a differential action. Although not fully scientifically proven yet, available evidence suggests that clozapine and olanzapine have a higher propensity to induce diabetes and metabolic syndrome compared with other atypical antipsychotic drugs, risperidone and quetiapine. Despite more limited available data, amisulpride, aripiprazole and ziprazidone showed less likelihood of precipitating diabetes. Interestingly, reversibility of drug-related diabetes has been reported with aripiprazole. The choice of atypical antipsychotic medication for a specific patient depends on many factors, but the likelihood of developing diabetes should become an important consideration. When prescribing an atypical antipsychotic, a commitment to careful baseline screening and follow-up monitoring is essential in order to mitigate the risk of developing diabetes and associated complications.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antipsychotic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Blood Glucose / drug effects
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / chemically induced
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Schizophrenia / drug therapy


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Blood Glucose