Thursday, October 29, 2009

Weight Gain Associated With Antipsychotic Drugs

Back in 1999 I was put on Depakote, a prophylactic against mania that, as it turned out, had the effect of slowly but steadily ratcheting up my weight. When I started taking it I weighed 168; within five years I was very nearly at 200 pounds -- sometimes even a bit over. Since I'm only 5'8", that was obviously a problem, both intrinsically and because of a history in my family of heart disease.

Fortunately I managed the disorder conscientiously enough that my psychiatrist felt comfortable eliminating the Depakote and relying principally on Lamictal (which is prescribed mainly as an anti-depressant but has some anti-manic properties as well), coupled with disciplined sleep hygiene.

Lamictal is weight-neutral. I still managed to gain weight while on it, but as it turned out, that owed mainly to eating out a lot (especially fast food) and drinking a lot of beer. In mid-July I started the Weight Watchers program. I have so far lost a bit over twenty pounds, with fewer than eight pounds to go.

Still, not everyone has the luxury of such an option....
In the New York Times, October 28, 2009

Weight Gain Associated With Antipsychotic Drugs

Young children and adolescents who take the newest generation of antipsychotic medications risk rapid weight gain and metabolic changes that could lead to diabetes, hypertension and other illnesses, according to the biggest study yet of first-time users of the drugs.

The study, to be published Wednesday in The Journal of the American Medical Association, found that 257 young children and adolescents in New York City and on Long Island added 8 to 15 percent to their weight after taking the pills for less than 12 weeks.

The patients, ages 4 to 19, added an average of one to one-and-a-half pounds a week.

“The degree of weight gain is alarming,” said Dr. Wayne K. Goodman, head of a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on the drugs last summer and chairman of psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in Manhattan. “The magnitude is stunning,” he said.

Full Article


Anonymous said...

I gained a total of over 50 pounds in a space of about 10 years on depakote. Since changing over topomax, I have lost 20 and continue to lose. My initial weight loss also may have triggered a latent family gene for type one diabetes. I have been doing well on Topomax, after the initial period of adjustment. I just wish I had been put on topomax from the beginning and maybe I wouldn't have developed diabetes and maybe I would still have a husband who thought I was pretty.

Barb said...

I was briefly on Zyprexa and gained weight, which went down immediately without changes in diet or increasing exercise when I went off of it. I've mentioned in the past that I gained a lot of weight while on Lamictal and immediately lost 10 lbs. once I was taken off of it.

In retrospect, I began eating compulsively -- more so than usual -- while taking Lamictal. So much so that I thought I had a binge eating disorder. Now I'm not sure if it was the medication itself that caused the weight gain, or if it sparked something in me to cause me to eat so much.

I had to work hard to lose it all plus an extra 10 lbs., and due to other circumstances I've regained much of it. I'm considering joining Weight Watchers, but know very few people who have tried it. I'll send you a PM on FB.

You look great now. Other than the fact you're wearing a Penn State sweatshirt. ;-)

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