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Genetic variants impacting metabolic outcomes among people on clozapine: a systematic review and meta-analysis

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Clozapine is the gold standard medication for treatment refractory schizophrenia, but unfortunately, its use is also associated with many adverse metabolic side effects. There may be a strong genetic component to the development of these adverse effects. We undertook a systematic review to examine the evidence for genetic variation being associated with secondary metabolic outcomes in patients with schizophrenia on clozapine, under both longitudinal and cross-sectional study designs. We limited studies to those examining patients definitely taking clozapine, unlike prior reviews that have examined metabolic effects of patients taking a range of antipsychotic medications. We found associations with outcomes such as increases in BMI and metabolic syndrome for variants in genes such as LEP and HTR2C. Meta-analysis of rs381328 in HTR2C revealed that the presence of the T allele led to a 0.63 kg/m2 (95% CI − 1.06 to − 0.19; p = 0.005) decrease in BMI compared to the C allele. Study and population heterogeneity and lack of statistical power among reviewed articles mean that evidence is lacking to warrant prophylactic genotyping of patients commencing clozapine to predict those at increased risk of developing adverse metabolic effects. Further efforts to establish collaborative consortia, consensus around study design and replication studies in independent populations should be encouraged.

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DS is partially supported by an NHMRC ECF APP1111136.


This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

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Correspondence to Rachel J. Suetani.

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Suetani, R.J., Siskind, D., Reichhold, H. et al. Genetic variants impacting metabolic outcomes among people on clozapine: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Psychopharmacology 234, 2989–3008 (2017).

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