Concerns have been raised about the side-effects of medications available to treat mental illnesses. Researchers have noticed that people with these conditions are approximately twice as likely to develop heart disease or die from a heart-related illness.
Medication used to treat mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, major depression and bipolar disorder has been shown to increase the patient’s chance of developing risk factors for heart disease such as obesity or diabetes mellitus. Some, but not all, will go on to develop these risk factors.
To address this risk, physicians and patients need to understand the complications that may occur with psychiatric medications, closely monitor for them, and address them early when they develop. It is of paramount importance to take an active role to reduce the complications of these adverse effects.
Risk of developing diabetes 2
While common medications are often helpful to control the symptoms seen with psychiatric disorders and eventually improve the lives of people afflicted, they may also cause unwanted side effects.
Some common side-effects involve worsening risk factors for heart disease through weight gain, development of diabetes mellitus, increases in fats in the blood such as cholesterol and increases in blood pressure. As a result, the risk of death from complications of heart disease could be adversely impacted by medications, unless they are carefully monitored.
In the special issue of Hormone Molecular Biology and Clinical Investigation, the authors highlight in their review the important heart and weight-related effects of commonly prescribed medications used in psychiatry.
Side effects can vary from person to person
There are significant differences in risk for these adverse effects between commonly prescribed medications and it is important to understand how these medications may increase the risk of heart disease.
It is also important to recognize that individuals vary with regard to vulnerability to these adverse effects. With the same medication, one person may experience no side-effects while another experiences severe worsening in risk factors for heart disease. The ultimate goal of the paper is to increase awareness about the effects these medications can have, empowering both physicians and patients to actively assess for adverse effects and respond quickly once complications develop.
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