VIDEO: Lifestyle intervention blocks antipsychotic-associated weight gain

The weight gain most patients have when first starting treatment with antipsychotic medications is not inevitable.

A 12-week intervention program designed to promote exercise and a healthy diet largely blunted a big weight gain by 16 adolescents and young adults starting treatment after an initial diagnosis of psychosis in a controlled study at a single Australian center. Later follow-up further showed that a majority of participants in the program remained mostly free of excess weight 2 years after the life-style intervention, Dr. Philip B. Ward said at the meeting sponsored by the European Psychiatric Association.

Implementing this type of intervention is very important because antipsychotic-induced weight gain launches young psychiatric patients into a middle age that often includes metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and a significantly increased risk for cardiovascular disease events, said Dr. Ward, a psychiatrist at the University of New South Wales in Sydney.

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