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Original Research

Iron Homeostasis During Risperidone Treatment in Children and Adolescents

Chadi A. Calarge, MDa,b,g,*; Ekhard E. Ziegler, MDb; Nicole Del Castillo, MDa; Michael Aman, PhDc; Christopher J. McDougle, MDd; Lawrence Scahill, PhDe; James T. McCracken, MDf; and L. Eugene Arnold, MDc

Published: August 4, 2015

Article Abstract

Objective: Previous cross-sectional evidence has linked antipsychotic-related weight gain to reduced body iron concentration. Using longitudinal data, we examined the association between changes in weight following risperidone initiation or discontinuation and ferritin concentration.

Method: Study 1: Between April 2004 and September 2007, participants were enrolled from outpatient settings in a prospective randomized clinical trial comparing the efficacy of risperidone monotherapy to the combination of risperidone and behavior therapy in targeting disruptive behavior in 4- to 13-year-old children with DSM-IV-TR-based autism spectrum disorder. Study 2: Medically healthy 7- to 17-year-old participants in long-term open-label risperidone treatment at study entry returned for follow-up 1.5 years later, between July 2007 and July 2011. Available blood samples were used to measure ferritin. Linear multivariable regression analysis tested the association between ferritin concentration and change in age-sex-specific body mass index (BMI) z score between study entry and endpoint, adjusting for relevant confounders.

Results: Study 1 sample consisted of 73 participants (85% males, mean age: 7.7 ± 2.4 years). After 18.0 ± 2.0 weeks on risperidone, their BMI z score increased by 0.93 ± 0.70 points and ferritin concentration declined by 6.8 ± 13.3 μg/L. After adjusting for age and sex, change in BMI z score was inversely correlated with percent change in ferritin concentration (β = −18.3, P < .003). Study 2 participants had all been receiving risperidone at study entry. At follow-up, 1.5 ± 0.3 years later, risperidone was discontinued in 26 of the 96 who were included in the analysis. Neither change in BMI z score nor in ferritin concentration was different between those who continued versus discontinued risperidone. However, a reduction in BMI z score between study entry and follow-up was associated with higher ferritin concentration at follow-up in participants who discontinued risperidone compared to those who continued it (P = .01).

Conclusions: Risperidone-related weight gain is associated with a reduction in body iron reserves, which appears to improve with weight loss following risperidone discontinuation. Preliminary evidence suggests that risperidone may also directly inhibit iron absorption.

Trial Registration: Identifier: NCT00080145

Volume: 76

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