As part of the health care team, when meeting with members who are receiving second generation antipsychotic (SGA) medications, ask if they are up to date in receiving their crucial “metabolic monitoring” and please consider sharing the enclosed educational handout.
Metabolic monitoring includes measuring glucose and cholesterol levels as well as weight (and height for children) while on SGAs. This is important because SGAs cause metabolic syndrome which is a group of risk factors that increase people’s chances of developing heart disease, stroke and/or diabetes, which can occur even without weight gain.
How Can You Help Encourage Health And Safety for People Receiving Antipsychotic Therapy?
- Share the attached educational handout about metabolic syndrome when meeting with individuals taking SGAs.
- Ask about monitoring.
- Inform that monitoring helps to avoid health complications such as weight gain, diabetes and long-term consequences of coronary artery disease.
- Encourage the making and keeping of appointments with primary medical care providers and medication prescribers for important coordination of care related to metabolic monitoring.
- Encourage healthy lifestyle modifications.
- Ensure necessary releases are in place to coordinate care between key providers (PCP, specialists, psychiatrics, therapist, etc.).
Second Generation Antipsychotic Medications Reference Guide
Abilify®, Abilify Maintena® Syringe, Aristada® / Initio™ Injection
Saphris® SL Tablet, Secuado® Patch
Clozaril®, FazaClo® ODT , Versacloz® Suspension
Fanapt® Tablet / Titration Pack
Zyprexa®, Zyprexa Zydis® Tablet , Zyprexa® Relprevv™ Injection
Invega®, Invega® Sustenna Injection / Invega® Trinza Injection
Seroquel® / XR
Risperdal®, Perseris® Injection, Risperdal® Consta Injection
Antipsychotic Medications and Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic Syndrome is a common problem. And it can also be a side effect of certain types of antipsychotic medications called second-generation antipsychotics or “SGAs.” People taking these types of medications should have their weight, cholesterol and blood sugar levels checked regularly by a doctor. Make and keep these important appointments with your doctor.
What Is Metabolic Syndrome?
Metabolic Syndrome is having three or more of these risk factors:
- A large waistline (excess weight around your waist)
- High blood pressure problems
- High blood sugar problems
- “Good cholesterol” called HDL is too low (or taking medication for high cholesterol)
- High triglycerides (a type of “bad” fat in the body)
How is Metabolic Syndrome diagnosed?
Your doctor can diagnose metabolic syndrome with a physical exam, your medical history and some simple blood tests.
Why is Metabolic Syndrome important?
It greatly increases your risk of having a heart attack, stroke and diabetesWhat can you do?
- Aim for a healthy weight:
- Losing as little as 5-10 pounds can improve your blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels
- Check out these resources for making healthy food choices:
- Exercise regularly
- Low impact exercises like walking, swimming or riding a bike are great ways to get moving without putting too much stress on the body
- Limit alcohol
- Stop smoking/vaping
- Talk with your doctor about the options that might be best for you
Adherence to Antipsychotic Medications for Individuals with Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is a chronic and disabling psychiatric disorder that requires ongoing treatment and monitoring. As many as 60% of individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia do not take medications as prescribed. Poor adherence can lead to hospitalization and interfere with the recovery process.
What Can Providers Do to Improve Outcomes?
- Follow up with individuals to confirm that they are taking their medications.
- Encourage individuals to talk to their prescriber if they are experiencing adverse medication side-effects.
- Develop person-centered plans for medication reminders:
- text messages
- automated phone calls
- signs in the individual’s home
- technology-equipped pillboxes that provide prompts of the appropriate times to take medications.
- Address risk factors and barriers associated with non-adherence, such negative stigmas, homelessness, and substance use. Interventions focused on these risk factors may improve outcomes for individuals with the highest danger of non-adherence related relapse.
- When able, include natural supports such as a family member or caregiver in discussions regarding treatment.