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Anti-Psychotics and Weight Gain

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One of the most common side effects of anti-psychotic drugs is weight gain. Even the newer anti-psychotics like olanzapine and risperidol have been associated with weight gain. There are a number of individuals who will not take their anti-psychotic medications because of this disturbing side effect.

Over the years, it has become known that individuals who take anti-psychotics do develop a multitude of complications related to weight gain and in fact, these individuals do have a higher death rate than the average population. Why weight gain occurs with these anti-psychotic drugs is not fully known but, it is believed to be related to genes or a biochemical change in the brain.

There is evidence that some individuals may have genetic make-up, which causes the drugs to influence their eating habits. This is just speculation because the majority of individuals who take anti-psychotics put on weight. The anti-psychotics do not discriminate against any gene(s), race, gender, age, color, or ethnicity - everyone gains weight.

A few recent animal studies have shown that anti-psychotic drugs can increase the activity of an enzyme known as the appetite-regulating enzyme commonly known as AMPK. Further, all anti-psychotics also limit the ability of insulin to work; the resulting insulin resistance has also been associated with weight gain.

So what are the treatment options for these individuals?

To begin with, all individuals who take anti-psychotics should be encouraged to eat healthy and enter into an exercise program. A decrease in calorie consumption is important.

A single study from China showed the anti-diabetic drug, metformin, did reverse the weight gain induced by anti-psychotics. These effects were observed in diabetics who were on anti-psychotic drugs. Metformin should not be taken by individuals with normal blood sugar because this can lead to a severe lowering of blood sugars that can be life threatening. This may not be of great importance in China, but in North America, prescribing a diabetic drug to a non-diabetic is one “great method” of generating a medical malpractice claim.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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