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Metformin Helps Curb Weight in Child Psychiatric Patients

Adolescent patients on placebo gained 0.31 kilogram a week compared to those on metformin

THURSDAY, Dec. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Metformin helps young psychiatric patients reverse the weight gain associated with second-generation antipsychotics, researchers report in the December issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

David J. Klein, M.D., Ph.D., of Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center in Ohio, and colleagues compared the effect of 16 weeks of metformin or placebo administration on 39 participants aged 10 to 17 who had gained more than 10 percent of their body weight during less than a year of quetiapine, risperidone or olanzapine treatment.

The researchers found that participants on metformin stabilized their weight, and experienced reduced z scores for weight and body mass index compared to those on placebo. Placebo patients gained 0.31 kilogram per week during the study. Metformin caused a drop in homeostasis model assessment for insulin sensitivity, with no serious adverse effects.

Two participants were diagnosed with diabetes before metformin treatment, as were two participants on placebo. Impaired fasting glucose was detected in four placebo participants, including three after the study's completion.

"Metformin therapy is safe and effective in abrogating weight gain, decreased insulin sensitivity, and abnormal glucose metabolism resulting from treatment of children and adolescents with atypicals," the authors write.

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