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INTRODUCTION: In patients suffering from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, antipsychotics are the mainstay of treatment worldwide. By blocking D(2) brain mesolimbic receptors, antipsychotics are believed to reduce and control psychotic experiences, but recent evidence has suggested that they may also have adverse effects on bone mineral architecture and fracture incidence. AREAS COVERED: This study reviews current literature surrounding the use of antipsychotics and their effects on bone homeostasis. The primary medical search engines used for the study are Ovid MEDLINE (1950 - April 2010), EMBASE (1988 - April 2010) and PsychINFO (1987 - April 2010) databases. EXPERT OPINION: Typical antipsychotics, in addition to the atypical antipsychotics risperidone and amisulpride, have been shown to increase serum prolactin levels in in vivo human studies. Results from animal and human in vitro and in vivo studies have demonstrated that high concentrations of prolactin have been shown to adversely affect bone cell metabolism and accelerate the rate bone mineral density loss, thereby increasing fracture risk. Increasing awareness of the side effect profile of antipsychotic medications on bone metabolism may prompt clinicians to screen patients at high risk of antipsychotic-induced osteoporosis and provide treatment, which may reduce the incidence of potentially avoidable fractures.

Original publication




Journal article


Expert opin drug saf

Publication Date





575 - 602


Animals, Antipsychotic Agents, Fractures, Bone, Humans, Incidence, Osteoporosis, Psychotic Disorders, Risk Factors