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Interventions Help Reduce Weight Gain in Schizophrenics

Metformin and lifestyle changes effective for patients taking antipsychotic medications

TUESDAY, Jan. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Medication-related weight gain and insulin resistance in schizophrenic patients can be attenuated with metformin and lifestyle interventions, alone or in combination, researchers report in the Jan. 9/16 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Ren-Rong Wu, M.D., of the Central South University in Changsha, China, and colleagues followed 128 schizophrenics, 18 to 45 years of age, who had gained significant weight in their first year of treatment with antipsychotic drugs. Participants were randomly assigned to one of four groups: metformin alone, metformin plus lifestyle interventions, lifestyle interventions alone, or placebo alone.

All the treatment groups showed reductions in weight and body mass index, while subjects in the placebo group showed increases in both categories, the report indicates. Mean fasting glucose, insulin and insulin resistance index (IRI) levels also decreased in the three treatment groups, while insulin and IRI levels and waist circumference increased in the placebo group.

The authors note that controlling weight gain in schizophrenic patients is "critically important because poorly managed weight not only leads to medical complications, diminished quality of life, and increased mortality but also leads to dramatic increases in health care costs."

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