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Schizophrenia patients physical health compromised

Community psychiatric nurses are concerned that some medication for patients with schizophrenia may cause long-term problems for their physical health, a survey shows.

Some 60% of nurses that took part in the survey believe that weight gain has the greatest impact on patients with schizophrenia.

Over half of the nurses also cited weight gain as the most common factor that prevented them from complying with medication. 

There is growing evidence that some schizophrenia medications are associated with metabolic abnormalities that can lead to obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

The survey coincides with the release of the Mind and Body manifesto calling for improved physical health for patients with schizophrenia.

The manifesto believes that primary care screening should identify patients with schizophrenia who are at risk of the metabolic syndrome and weight gain.

They also urge GPs to take more responsibility for the physical health of mental health patients.

Margaret Edwards, head of strategy at mental health charity SANE, said: "It is the responsibility of every healthcare professional, in either primary or secondary care, to ensure that the physical health and wellbeing of patients with severe mental illness is treated as seriously as their mental health.

"Lifestyle measures, as well as treatment choice, play a significant role in preventing and improving poor physical health in this vulnerable patient population."


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