Antipsychotics linked to weight gain

Young patients treated with antipsychotic medicines should be given twice-yearly metabolic health checks, US researchers have suggested.

The researchers found that second-generation antipsychotic medicines were associated with weight gain and metabolic changes in patients taking the medicines for the first time.

Their study followed 338 patients aged 4-17 years. After 10 weeks of treatment, patients had gained an average of 4.4kg to 8.5kg. Some treatments were also associated with increases in patients' cholesterol levels.

The researchers said findings point to the need to monitor patients' risk factors carefully.

'Guidelines for antipsychotic medication exposure for vulnerable paediatric and adolescent patients naive to antipsychotic medication should consider more frequent cardiometabolic monitoring after the first three months of treatment,' they said.

The researchers also stressed the need to consider other potential treatments and provide proactive adverse effect monitoring and management.

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