Gastrointestinal and liver disease in patients with schizophrenia: A narrative review

World J Gastroenterol. 2022 Oct 14;28(38):5515-5529. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v28.i38.5515.


Schizophrenia is a severe mental illness which can have a devastating impact on an individual's quality of life. Comorbidities are high amongst patients and life expectancy is approximately 15 years less than the general population. Despite the well-known increased mortality, little is known about the impact of gastrointestinal and liver disease on patients with schizophrenia. We aimed to review the literature and to make recommendations regarding future care. Literature searches were performed on PubMed to identify studies related to gastrointestinal and liver disease in patients with schizophrenia. High rates of chronic liver disease were reported, with Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease being of particular concern; antipsychotics and metabolic syndrome were contributing factors. Rates of acute liver failure were low but have been associated with antipsychotic use and paracetamol overdose. Coeliac disease has historically been linked to schizophrenia; however, recent research suggests that a causal link is yet to be proven. Evidence is emerging regarding the relationships between schizophrenia and peptic ulcer disease, inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome; clinical vigilance regarding these conditions should be high. Patients with schizophrenia poorly engage with bowel cancer screening programmes, leading to late diagnosis and increased mortality. Clozapine induced constipation is a significant issue for many patients and requires close monitoring. There is a significant burden of gastrointestinal and liver disease amongst patients with schizophrenia. Better levels of support from all members of the medical team are essential to ensure that appropriate, timely care is provided.

Keywords: Gastrointestinal disease; Liver disease; Mental health; Schizophrenia.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antipsychotic Agents* / adverse effects
  • Constipation / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Liver Diseases* / complications
  • Liver Diseases* / diagnosis
  • Liver Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Quality of Life
  • Schizophrenia* / complications
  • Schizophrenia* / drug therapy
  • Schizophrenia* / epidemiology


  • Antipsychotic Agents