BACKGROUND: The current literature supports that schizophrenia (and bipolar disorders) appear to be associated with a higher prevalence of type 2 diabetes. Because of the silent nature of diabetes mellitus, and the fact that schizophrenic patients are not screened comprehensively for the disease, the true prevalence of hyperglycemia and diabetes may be substantially underestimated. Notably, it has been suggested that schizophrenia as such carries an increased risk, as certain characteristics of schizophrenic patients such as unhealthy life style promote the diabetes risk. LITERATURE FINDINGS: This risk may be increased by antipsychotic drug treatment, as was already suggested for first-generation antipsychotics (FGA). The amount of literature on the association of SGA and metabolic disorders is much larger however, although well-controlled prospective data are sparse. Reports comprise abnormal glucose regulation, exacerbation of existing type 1 and 2 diabetes, new-onset pseudo-type 1 or type 2 diabetes, diabetic ketoacidosis, coma and death. In large-scale studies (mostly retrospective), reviews and meta-analyses, the association was not found for all drugs. NEW DATA: According to recent reviews, the risk of developing diabetes was highest for clozapine and olanzapine, followed by quetiapine and risperidone. The hierarchy of liability of weight gain, or differential effects on insulin resistance was also in the described order. Apart from disturbances in glucose metabolism, further frequent metabolic abnormalities in schizophrenic patients on SGA include features of the metabolic syndrome. Antipsychotics such as clozapine and olanzapine have also been associated with hypertriglyceridemia, while agents such as haloperidol, risperidone and ziprasidone were associated with reductions in plasma triglycerides. Amisulpride, aripiprazole and ziprasidone seem to carry the lowest risk for weight gain, diabetes and effects on insulin resistance. CONCLUSION: As a consequence, there is a shift in attention toward physical health monitoring in patients with mental health disorders. The APA and ADA as well a British working group have recently published the findings on SGA and metabolic abnormalities in a joint statement (table I).