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Weight Gain and Antipsychotic Drugs
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Weight Gain & Antipsychotic Drugs

A common side effect of many antipsychotic medications is increased appetite and weight gain, but a new study suggests that this doesn't happen to all patients. And even if they do gain weight, they can shed the extra pounds with diet and exercise, or even by switching medication.

Weight Gain & Antipsychotic Drugs
Antipsychotic medications are used to treat people with schizophrenia, and may also be as mood stabilizers in patients with depression or bipolar disorder. They have a reputation for weight gain, regardless of the dosage used.

Weight Loss Drugs Study
According to a recent weight loss study by Dartmouth Medical School in Lebanon, 35 patients who were treated with an antipsychotic drug gained at least 20 pounds. According to their report in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, these individuals had gained an average of 65 pounds over an average of 33 months. However, they subsequently lost two-thirds of this increase 3 to 5 years after starting treatment.

Weight Loss Drugs Study Results
A feature of this study is that weight loss occurred so far out after people initiated treatment. The reason that significant reversal of weight gain has not been reported previously could be that studies involved short-term follow-up, he added. At the point of greatest weight loss, at approximately 56 months, patients had lost about 41 pounds.

Weight Loss Drugs Study Conclusion
Appetite may be artificially elevated by medication. If patients understand that appetite may be an artifact of their medication, they may feel more comfortable that it's okay not to eat in response to it. In general, he says that patients should consider consulting a dietician and following a careful weight loss diet.

Source: Journal of Clinical Psychiatry

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