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Effect of Quetiapine, from Low to High Dose, on Weight and Metabolic Traits: Results from a Prospective Cohort StudyFunding: This work was supported in part by the Swiss National Research Foundation (CE and PC: 320030–120686, 324730–144064, 320030–173211; CE, PC and KP: 320030-200602). The funding sources had no role in the writing of the manuscript or in the decision to submit it for publication.
Introduction The atypical antipsychotic quetiapine is known to induce weight gain and other metabolic complications. The underlying mechanisms are multifactorial and poorly understood with almost no information on the effect of dosage. Concerns were thus raised with the rise in low-dose quetiapine off-label prescription (i. e.,<150 mg/day).
Methods In this study, we evaluated the influence of quetiapine dose for 474 patients included in PsyMetab and PsyClin studies on weight and metabolic parameter evolution. Weight, blood pressure, lipid, and glucose profiles were evaluated during a follow-up period of 3 months after treatment initiation.
Results Significant dose-dependent metabolic alterations were observed. The daily dose was found to influence weight gain and increase the risk of undergoing clinically relevant weight gain (≥7% from baseline). It was also associated with a change in plasma levels of cholesterol (total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and HDL cholesterol) as well as with increased odds of developing hypertriglyceridemia, as well as total and LDL hypercholesterolemia. No impact of a dose increase on blood pressure and plasma glucose level was observed.
Discussion The dose-dependent effect highlighted for weight gain and lipid alterations emphasizes the importance of prescribing the minimal effective dose. However, as the effect size of a dose increase on metabolic worsening is low, the potential harm of low-dose quetiapine should not be dismissed. Prescriptions must be carefully evaluated and regularly questioned in light of side effect onset.
Key wordsantipsychotic drugs - off-label prescription - safety profile - cardio-metabolic health - dose-dependent side effect
Received: 05 January 2021
Accepted: 21 April 2021
Article published online:
13 August 2021
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