Women with schizophrenia over the life span: Health promotion, treatment and outcomes

Alexandre González-Rodríguez*, Armand Guàrdia, Aida Álvarez Pedrero, Maria Betriu, Jesús Cobo, Sidharta Acebillo, José Antonio Monreal, Mary V. Seeman, Diego Palao, Javier Labad

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Women with schizophrenia show sex-specific health needs that differ according to stage of life. The aim of this narrative review is to resolve important questions concerning the treatment of women with schizophrenia at different periods of their life—paying special attention to reproductive and post-reproductive stages. Review results suggest that menstrual cycle-dependent treatments may be a useful option for many women and that recommendations re contraceptive options need always to be part of care provision. The pregnancy and the postpartum periods—while constituting vulnerable time periods for the mother—require special attention to antipsychotic effects on the fetus and neonate. Menopause and aging are further vulnerable times, with extra challenges posed by associated health risks. Pregnancy complications, neurodevelopmental difficulties of offspring, cancer risk and cognitive defects are indirect results of the interplay of hormones and antipsychotic treatment of women over the course of the lifespan. The literature recommends that health promotion strategies need to be directed at lifestyle modifications, prevention of medical comorbidities and increased psychosocial support. Careful monitoring of pharmacological treatment has been shown to be critical during periods of hormonal transition. Not only does treatment of women with schizophrenia often need to be different than that of their male peers, but it also needs to vary over the course of life.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number5594
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


  • Antipsychotics
  • Gender
  • Psychosis
  • Schizophrenia
  • Women


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