Meta-analysis of ghrelin alterations in schizophrenia: Effects of olanzapine

Ryan L. Goetz, Brian J. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Objective: Schizophrenia is associated with an increased prevalence of the metabolic syndrome. Patients receiving antipsychotic medications, including olanzapine, are at further risk. Ghrelin is an appetite-stimulating peptide hormone, although whether blood levels are altered by antipsychotic treatment, remains unclear. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis comparing blood ghrelin levels in patients with schizophrenia before and after treatment with olanzapine. Method: Two authors independently searched major electronic databases from inception until February 2018 for studies measuring blood ghrelin levels among patients with schizophrenia before and after olanzapine therapy. Random effects meta-analysis calculating standardized mean difference (SMD)and 95% confidence intervals (CI)and meta-regression analyses were performed. Results: Six studies met the inclusion criteria. Across these studies, there were 111 patients with schizophrenia (mean age 40, 85% male, baseline BMI 22, and endpoint BMI 23). Olanzapine treatment (mean [standard deviation]duration = 12.3 [7.6]weeks)was associated with a significant decrease in blood ghrelin levels with a medium effect size (SMD = −0.48, 95% CI −0.88 to −0.08, p = 0.018). Age, sex, baseline BMI, geography, olanzapine dose and duration, year of publication, study quality, inpatient status, and antipsychotic washout did not moderate this association. Conclusion: Our results suggest that in patients with schizophrenia, olanzapine therapy is associated with decreased blood ghrelin levels, a paradoxical phenomenon known to occur in obesity. Future studies should investigate the contribution of dietary factors (e.g., caloric intake)and physical activity to this association, as well as the effects of other antipsychotics on ghrelin levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-26
Number of pages6
JournalSchizophrenia Research
StatePublished - Apr 2019


  • Ghrelin
  • Meta-analysis
  • Metabolism
  • Obesity
  • Olanzapine
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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