Metabolic Side Effects
& Mental Health

What are metabolic side effects, and how are they related to mental health?

Metabolic side effects can sometimes occur in children and youth who are taking Second-Generation Antipsychotic medications (or SGAs). SGAs are a type of medication used to treat several mental health conditions.

Metabolic side effects of SGA medications can include:

  • weight gain (especially around the belly)
  • high blood sugar
  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol levels
  • high triglyceride levels

If 3 or more of these occur together, this is called Metabolic Syndrome.

How can I learn more about Second-Generation Antipsychotic medications?

SGA medications are also called atypical antipsychotic medications (AAPs). Some of the common ones are: quetiapine (Seroquel), risperidone (Risperdal), aripiprazole (Abilify) and olanzapine (Zyprexa). Other SGAs also include clozapine (Clozaril), paliperidone (Invega), and ziprasidone (Zeldox).

To learn more about the different types of antipsychotic medications, click here.

About the Provincial Mental Health Metabolic Program

This is a program that provides care for children and youth with mental health disorders who are at high risk for side effects from certain medications. These are children who:

  • have metabolic problems, or
  • may develop metabolic side effects from Atypical Antipsychotic medications, or
  • have pre-existing metabolic problems (excluding type 1 diabetes) and have recently been diagnosed with mental illness.

You can find more information:

On the BC Children's Hospital Website

In the Metabolic Program brochure 

In the Metabolic Program Orientation Video

Resources for professionals on metabolic monitoring in children and youth who have been prescribed SGA medications.

Provincial Mental Health Metabolic Program
BC Children’s Hospital
Box 141– 4500 Oak Street
Vancouver, BC V6H 3N1
Phone: 604-875-2010
Fax 604-875-2099

Enter the hospital site through Gate 3 (Heather Street and 29th Avenue entrance). Proceed straight ahead and turn left at the stop sign. The Mental Health Building is located on the right. Please use Entrance 85 and check in at reception.

Please note: Patient parking is available on site. When coming for appointments, please allow yourself extra time for parking.

BC Children's Hospital

This is an agency of Provincial Health Services Authority, providing provincial tertiary mental health services to the citizens of British Columbia. Programs include: Adult Tertiary Psychiatry, Geriatric Psychiatry, Forensic Psychiatric Services, Child & Adolescent Mental Health, Women’s Reproductive Mental Health, as well as the Provincial Specialized Eating Disorders Program for children and youth located at the BC Children’s Hospital.

Provincial Health Services Authority

Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) is one of six health authorities – the other five health authorities serve geographic regions of BC.

Ministry of Health

British Columbia Ministry of Health

RBC Children's Mental Health Project

RBC Children’s Mental Health Project is RBC's cornerstone “health and wellness” pillar; RBC Children’s Mental Heath Project is a multi-year philanthropic commitment to support community-based and hospital programs that reduce stigma, provide early intervention and increase public awareness about children’s mental health issues.

BC Children's Hospital Foundation

Through a wide range of fundraising events and opportunities, The BC Children's Hospital Foundation is united with its donors by a single, simple passion - to improve the health and the lives of the young people who enter BC Children's Hospital every day.