American Psychiatric Association

View all recommendations from this society

Released September 20, 2013

Don’t prescribe antipsychotic medications to patients for any indication without appropriate initial evaluation and appropriate ongoing monitoring.

Metabolic, neuromuscular and cardiovascular side effects are common in patients receiving antipsychotic medications for any indication, so thorough initial evaluation to ensure that their use is clinically warranted, and ongoing monitoring to ensure that side effects are identified, are essential. “Appropriate initial evaluation” includes the following: (a) thorough assessment of possible underlying causes of target symptoms including general medical, psychiatric, environmental or psychosocial problems; (b) consideration of general medical conditions; and (c) assessment of family history of general medical conditions, especially of metabolic and cardiovascular disorders. “Appropriate ongoing monitoring” includes re-evaluation and documentation of dose, efficacy and adverse effects; and targeted assessment, including assessment of movement disorder or neurological symptoms; weight, waist circumference and/or BMI; blood pressure; heart rate; blood glucose level; and lipid profile at periodic intervals.


These items are provided solely for informational purposes and are not intended as a substitute for consultation with a medical professional. Patients with any specific questions about the items on this list or their individual situation should consult their physician.

How The List Was Created

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) created a work group of members from the Council on Research and Quality Care (CRQC) to identify, refine and ascertain the degree of consensus for five proposed items. Two rounds of surveys were used to arrive at the final list: the first round narrowed the list from more than 20 potential items by inquiring about the extent of overuse, the impact on patients’ health, the associated costs of care and the level of evidence for each treatment or procedure; and the second gauged membership support for the top five and asked for suggested revisions and comments. The surveys targeted the CRQC; the Council on Geriatric Psychiatry; the Council on Children, Adolescents, and Their Families; and the Assembly, which is the APA’s governing body consisting of representative psychiatrists from around the country. After the work group incorporated feedback from the two large surveys, the APA’s Board of Trustees Executive Committee reviewed and unanimously approved the final list.

On April 22, 2015, APA revised item 3. Read more about these changes and rationale.

For APA disclosure and conflict of interest policy please visit www.psychiatry.org.

Sources

American Psychiatric Association. Practice guideline for the psychiatric evaluation of adults, second edition. Am J Psychiatry. 2006 Jun;163(Suppl):3–36. Available from: http://psychiatryonline.org/content.aspx?bookid=28&sectionid=2021669.

American Diabetes Association; American Psychiatric Association; American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists; North American Association for the Study of Obesity. Consensus development conference on antipsychotic drugs and obesity and diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2004;27(2):596-601.

Dixon L, Perkins D, Calmes C. Guideline watch (September 2009): practice guideline for the treatment of patients with schizophrenia [Internet]. Psychiatry Online. [cited 2013 Mar 8] Available from: http://psychiatryonline.org/content.aspx?bookid=28&sectionid=1682213.

Maglione M, Ruelaz Maher A, Hu J, Wang Z, Shanman R, Shekelle PG, Roth B, Hilton L, Suttorp MJ, Ewing BA, Motala A, Perry T; Southern California Evidence-Based Practice Center. Off-label use of atypical antipsychotics: an update. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; 2011 Sep 437 p. Report No.: HHSA290-2007-10062-1.

Nasrallah HA. Atypical antipsychotic-induced metabolic side effects: insights from receptor-binding profiles. Mol Psychiatry. 2008 Jan;13(1):27-35.