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Weight Gain and Antipsychotic Medication

George L. Blackburn, MD, PhD

Published: May 30, 2000

Article Abstract

Antipsychotic-treated patients, who tend to take combinations of psychotropic agents that maycause weight gain, are at special risk for the problems associated with being overweight or obese.Medical and psychiatric examinations should include periodic monitoring for weight change and anobesity assessment for weight-related medical illness. The assessment should involve evaluation ofbody mass index and waist circumference as well as medical history. Preventative strategies should beundertaken for patients who gain 5 lb (2.3 kg) or more within a 3-year period. A change in antipsychoticsmay be necessary for overweight patients who are unwilling or unable to lose weight. A treatmentplan for overweight or obese patients should include periodic monitoring and recommendationsfor changes in diet and physical activity. Support groups and adjunct medication may also be helpful.The patient should be reminded of the benefits of even modest weight loss.

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