Second-generation antipsychotics (SGAs) for schizophrenia show different risk profiles, whose evidence has been evaluated through comparative reviews on randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and observational studies.
We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of weight gains, metabolic and cardiovascular side effects of SGAs, relying on both RCTs and observational studies, by comparing variations between the start of treatment and the end of follow-up. The systematic review refers to papers published from June 2009 to November 2020. PRISMA criteria were followed. No restrictions on heterogeneity level have been considered for meta-analysis. A test for the summary effect measure and heterogeneity (I metric) was used.
Seventy-nine papers were selected from 3076 studies (61% RCTs, 39% observational studies). Olanzapine and risperidone reported the greatest weight gain and olanzapine the largest BMI increase. Paliperidone showed the highest increase in total cholesterol, but is the only drug reporting an increase in the HDL cholesterol. Quetiapine XR showed the highest decrease in fasting glucose. Lurasidone showed the lowest increase in body weight and a reduction in BMI and was also the only treatment reporting a decrease in total cholesterol and triglycerides. The highest increase in systolic and diastolic blood pressure was reported by quetiapine XR.
Despite some limitations (differences in the mean dosages per patient and other side effects not included) this paper provides the first complete meta-analysis on SGAs in variations on metabolic risk profile between start of treatment and end of follow-up, with useful results for clinical practice and possibly for future economic evaluation studies.

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