Pharmacological Interventions to Treat Antipsychotic-Induced Dyslipidemia in Schizophrenia Patients: A Systematic Review and Meta Analysis

Front Psychiatry. 2021 Mar 17;12:642403. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2021.642403. eCollection 2021.


Introduction: Antipsychotic-induced dyslipidemia represents a common adverse effect faced by patients with schizophrenia that increases risk for developing further metabolic complications and cardiovascular disease. Despite its burden, antipsychotic-induced dyslipidemia is often left untreated, and the effectiveness of pharmacological interventions for mitigating dyslipidemia has not been well-addressed. This review aims to assess the effectiveness of pharmacological interventions in alleviating dyslipidemia in patients with schizophrenia. Methods: Medline, PsychInfo, and EMBASE were searched for all relevant English articles from 1950 to November 2020. Randomized placebo-controlled trials were included. Differences in changes in triglycerides, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and VLDL cholesterol levels between treatment and placebo groups were meta-analyzed as primary outcomes. Results: Our review identified 48 randomized controlled trials that comprised a total of 3,128 patients and investigated 29 pharmacological interventions. Overall, pharmacological interventions were effective in lowering LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and total cholesterol levels while increasing the levels of HDL cholesterol. Within the intervention subgroups, approved lipid-lowering agents did not reduce lipid parameters other than total cholesterol level, while antipsychotic switching and antipsychotic add-on interventions improved multiple lipid parameters, including triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol. Off label lipid lowering agents improved triglycerides and total cholesterol levels, with statistically significant changes seen with metformin. Conclusion: Currently available lipid lowering agents may not work as well in patients with schizophrenia who are being treated with antipsychotics. Additionally, antipsychotic switching, antipsychotic add-ons, and certain off label interventions might be more effective in improving some but not all associated lipid parameters. Future studies should explore novel interventions for effectively managing antipsychotic-induced dyslipidemia. Registration: PROSPERO 2020 CRD42020219982;

Keywords: antipsychotics; dyslipidemia; meta-analysis; schizophrenia; systematic review.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review