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Psychiatrists neglect patients’ physical health problems, says study

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d5209 (Published 15 August 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d5209
  1. Lisa Hitchen
  1. 1London

Psychiatrists are failing to carry out physical health checks for metabolic complications common in patients with mental illness, in particular patients taking antipsychotics, a study claims.

In a meta-analysis and systematic review published in Psychological Medicine (doi:10.1017/S003329171100105X) researchers found that only blood pressure and triglycerides were routinely monitored in more than 50% of patients. Most other tests, such as cholesterol, glucose, and weight measurement, were carried out in less than half of patients.

Studies show that people with schizophrenia who are taking antipsychotics often have several related cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors so should be monitored often and provided with the appropriate follow-up medical care. These risk factors include high cholesterol concentrations, hypertriglyceridaemia, glucose abnormalities, hypertension, diabetes, and obesity.

Although …

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