Effect of Quetiapine, from Low to High Dose, on Weight and Metabolic Traits: Results from a Prospective Cohort Study

Pharmacopsychiatry. 2021 Nov;54(6):279-286. doi: 10.1055/a-1525-2820. Epub 2021 Aug 13.


Introduction: The atypical antipsychotic quetiapine is known to induce weight gain and other metabolic complications. The underlying mechanisms are multifactorial and poorly understood with almost no information on the effect of dosage. Concerns were thus raised with the rise in low-dose quetiapine off-label prescription (i. e.,<150 mg/day).

Methods: In this study, we evaluated the influence of quetiapine dose for 474 patients included in PsyMetab and PsyClin studies on weight and metabolic parameter evolution. Weight, blood pressure, lipid, and glucose profiles were evaluated during a follow-up period of 3 months after treatment initiation.

Results: Significant dose-dependent metabolic alterations were observed. The daily dose was found to influence weight gain and increase the risk of undergoing clinically relevant weight gain (≥7% from baseline). It was also associated with a change in plasma levels of cholesterol (total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and HDL cholesterol) as well as with increased odds of developing hypertriglyceridemia, as well as total and LDL hypercholesterolemia. No impact of a dose increase on blood pressure and plasma glucose level was observed.

Discussion: The dose-dependent effect highlighted for weight gain and lipid alterations emphasizes the importance of prescribing the minimal effective dose. However, as the effect size of a dose increase on metabolic worsening is low, the potential harm of low-dose quetiapine should not be dismissed. Prescriptions must be carefully evaluated and regularly questioned in light of side effect onset.

MeSH terms

  • Antipsychotic Agents* / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quetiapine Fumarate / adverse effects
  • Weight Gain


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Quetiapine Fumarate