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How are mortality rates altered in people with schizophrenia? 

The life expectancy of people with schizophrenia is reduced compared to the general population. The reasons for increased mortality in schizophrenia are largely unclear, but may in part be related to lifestyle factors such as weight gain, smoking, unhealthy diet and low physical activity levels. Schizophrenia may also be associated with increased risk of suicide.

What is the evidence relating to mortality rates?

Moderate to high quality evidence finds a medium-sized increased rate of mortality in people with schizophrenia compared to general population rates, with life expectancy being around 65 years of age. There are increased risks of mortality due to cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, digestive disease, endocrine disease, coronary disease, and first-generation antipsychotic induced tardive dyskinesia. Females with schizophrenia showed increased mortality due to cancer, but males with schizophrenia showed lower levels of cancer-related mortality.

There is a medium-sized effect of fewer deaths in people with schizophrenia on antipsychotics than in people with schizophrenia not on antipsychotics. There were no differences in mortality rates according to individual antipsychotics, antipsychotic dose or type (first vs. second generation, injectable vs. oral), the patient’s illness status (acute vs. other), or study variables (study duration, industry vs. non-industry trials).


Please also see the suicide and self-harm topic.


March 2019

Page last updated: 4:58  4 March 2019

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