OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this paper is to review the literature since 1970 documenting the effects of antipsychotic agents on serum lipids, including a discussion of possible mechanisms for the observed phenomena, the clinical significance and recommendations for monitoring hyperlipidemia during antipsychotic therapy., RESULTS: High-potency conventional antipsychotics (e.g., haloperidol) and the atypical antipsychotics, ziprasidone, risperidone and aripiprazole, appear to be associated with lower risk of hyperlipidemia. Low-potency conventional antipsychotics (e.g., chlorpormazine, thioridazine) and the atypical antipsychotics, quetiapine, olanzapine and clozapine, are associated with higher risk of hyperlipidemia. Possible hypotheses for lipid dysregulation include weight gain, dietary changes and the development of glucose intolerance., CONCLUSIONS: Given the multiple cardiovascular risk factors seen in patients with schizophrenia, great care must be exercised in the choice of antipsychotic therapy to minimize the medical burden of additional risk imposed by hyperlipidemia. It is recommended that a lipid panel be obtained at baseline in all patients with schizophrenia, annually thereafter for patients on agents associated with lower risk of hyperlipidemia and quarterly in patients on agents associated with higher risk for hyperlipidemia. All patients with persistent dyslipidemia should be referred for lipid-lowering therapy or switched to a less lipid-offending antipsychotic agent.
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