Combating Weight Gain Caused by Antipsychotic Treatments
Philadelphia, PA, March 26, 2009 – Antipsychotic drugs, such as olanzapine (Zyprexa), risperidone (Risperdal) and quetiapine (Seroquel), are commonly used to treat psychotic disorders like schizophrenia, but also bipolar disorder and even behavioral problems related to dementia. Unfortunately, the weight gain commonly experienced with antipsychotic treatment is an important side effect for many patients, and causes many patients to discontinue their use leading to even further problems. Biological Psychiatry, in its April 1st issue, is now publishing a new study that has evaluated an add-on treatment to potentially reduce treatment-associated weight gain.
In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, Dr. James Roerig and colleagues evaluated the effect of modafinil on olanzapine-associated weight gain in normal volunteer subjects. Modafinil is a drug currently used to increase wakefulness in individuals with sleep disorders, such as narcolepsy. All of the subjects received olanzapine, and half also received modafinil treatment while the other half instead received placebo. After three weeks, although the body mass index was increased in both groups, those receiving olanzapine/placebo showed significantly greater weight increase than those receiving olanzapine/modafinil.
Dr. Roerig notes that now that this short-term study in healthy individuals has shown promise, modafinil can now be evaluated as a “viable candidate for a larger, more complex clinical trial to determine efficacy in a patient population.”
Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry and affiliated with both Yale University School of Medicine and the VA Connecticut Healthcare System, agrees that further research is warranted. “Psychiatrists are now working more closely with patients to manage the side effects of antipsychotic treatment. The finding that modafinil reduces weight gain may encourage more research to see whether there are other benefits associated with modafinil prescription with regards to symptoms or cognitive impairments associated with schizophrenia.”
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Notes to Editors:
The article is “An Exploration of the Effect of Modafinil on Olanzapine Associated Weight Gain in Normal Human Subjects” by James L. Roerig, Kristine J. Steffen, James E. Mitchell, Ross D. Crosby, and Blake A. Gosnell. Authors Roerig, Steffen, Mitchell, and Crosby are affiliated with the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences and The Neuropsychiatric Research Institute, both in Fargo, North Dakota. Gosnell is from the Department of Food Science & Nutrition, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota. The article appears in Biological Psychiatry, Volume 65, Issue 7 (April 1, 2009), published by Elsevier.
The authors’ disclosures of financial and conflicts of interests are available in the article. Dr. Krystal's disclosures of financial and conflicts of interests are available here.
Full text of the article mentioned above is available upon request. Contact Jayne M. Dawkins at firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain a copy or to schedule an interview.
About biological psychiatry
This international rapid-publication journal is the official journal of the Society of Biological Psychiatry. It covers a broad range of topics in psychiatric neuroscience and therapeutics. Both basic and clinical contributions are encouraged from all disciplines and research areas relevant to the pathophysiology and treatment of major neuropsychiatric disorders. Full-length and Brief Reports of novel results, Commentaries, Case Studies of unusual significance, and Correspondence and Comments judged to be of high impact to the field are published, particularly those addressing genetic and environmental risk factors, neural circuitry and neurochemistry, and important new therapeutic approaches. Concise Reviews and Editorials that focus on topics of current research and interest are also published rapidly.
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