Importance of Early Weight Changes to Predict Long-Term Weight Gain During Psychotropic Drug Treatment

Background: Psychotropic drugs can induce substantial weight gain, particularly during the first 6 months of treatment. The authors aimed to determine the potential predictive power of an early weight gain after the introduction of weight gain–inducing psychotropic drugs on long-term weight gain.

Method: Data were obtained from a 1-year longitudinal study ongoing since 2007 including 351 psychiatric (ICD-10) patients, with metabolic parameters monitored (baseline and/or 1, 3, 6, 9, 12 months) and with compliance ascertained. International Diabetes Federation and World Health Organization definitions were used to define metabolic syndrome and obesity, respectively.

Results: Prevalences of metabolic syndrome and obesity were 22% and 17%, respectively, at baseline and 32% and 24% after 1 year. Receiver operating characteristic analyses indicated that an early weight gain > 5% after a period of 1 month is the best predictor for important long-term weight gain ( 15% after 3 months: sensitivity, 67%; specificity, 88%; 20% after 12 months: sensitivity, 47%; specificity, 89%). This analysis identified most patients (97% for 3 months, 93% for 12 months) who had weight gain 5% after 1 month as continuing to have a moderate weight gain after 3 and 12 months. Its predictive power was confirmed by fitting a longitudinal multivariate model (difference between groups in 1 year of 6.4% weight increase as compared to baseline, P = .0001).

Conclusion: Following prescription of weight gain–inducing psychotropic drugs, a 5% threshold for weight gain after 1 month should raise clinician concerns about weight-controlling strategies.

J Clin Psychiatry 2015;76(11):e1417–e1423

https://doi.org/10.4088/JCP.14m09358