Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Antipsychotics associated with significant weight gain in children

  • 1 Comment

Children and adolescents who take second-generation antipsychotic medication are significantly more likely to experience weight than those who do not, latest research suggests.

US researchers studied 272 paediatric patients, aged four to 19, who were treated with aripiprazole, olanzapine, quetiapine or risperidone for the first time, and 15 paediatric patients who were not treated with any antipsychotic medication.

After almost 11 weeks of treatment, the researchers found that the weight of those being treated with antipsychotics increased by an average of 18.7lbs, compared to just 0.4lbs for those who were not taking antipsychotic medication.

The most significant weight gain was seen with olanzapine, with the 45 children who took the drug gaining an average 13.4lbs.

“Each antipsychotic medication was associated with significantly increased fat mass and waist circumference. Altogether, 10-36 per cent of patients transitioned to overweight or obese status within 11 weeks,” the authors said.

The study also found that taking antipsychotic medication was associated with other adverse metabolic changes in young people, such as lipid and glucose abnormalities. Risperidone in particular significantly increased levels of triglycerides, the authors said.

Young people who are taking antipsychotic medication should have more frequent cardiometabolic monitoring, and the benefits of using this medication in this patient group should be weighed against the risks, they added online in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

  • 1 Comment

Readers' comments (1)

  • Your figures are the wrong way around: olanzapine increased weight by 18.7lbs and antipsychotics increased it by 13.4lbs.

    It is very worrying that children are being treated in this way, these drugs are extremely powerful and can cause significant problems in their own right.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.