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.