Antipsychotic Drugs: From Receptor-binding Profiles to Metabolic Side Effects

Curr Neuropharmacol. 2018;16(8):1210-1223. doi: 10.2174/1570159X15666170630163616.


Background: Antipsychotic-induced metabolic side effects are major concerns in psychopharmacology and clinical psychiatry. Their pathogenetic mechanisms are still not elucidated.

Methods: Herein, we review the impact of neurotransmitters on metabolic regulation, providing insights into antipsychotic-induced metabolic side effects.

Results: Antipsychotic drugs seem to interfere with feeding behaviors and energy balance, processes that control metabolic regulation. Reward and energy balance centers in central nervous system constitute the central level of metabolic regulation. The peripheral level consists of skeletal muscles, the liver, the pancreas, the adipose tissue and neuroendocrine connections. Neurotransmitter receptors have crucial roles in metabolic regulation and they are also targets of antipsychotic drugs. Interaction of antipsychotics with neurotransmitters could have both protective and harmful effects on metabolism.

Conclusion: Emerging evidence suggests that antipsychotics have different liabilities to induce obesity, diabetes and dyslipidemia. However this diversity cannot be explained merely by drugs'pharmacodynamic profiles, highlighting the need for further research.

Keywords: Receptor-binding profiles; antipsychotics; diabetes; feeding behavior; metabolic regulation; metabolic side effects; neurotransmitters; obesity..

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antipsychotic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Antipsychotic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Diseases / etiology
  • Metabolic Diseases / metabolism
  • Receptors, Neurotransmitter / metabolism


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Receptors, Neurotransmitter