Researchers Find Way to Counteract Weight Gain Associated with Antipsychotic Medications

A common side effect of antipsychotic medications is that they can cause users to gain weight. Now researchers believe they have found a way to counteract that weight gain.

Scientists from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center discovered that serotonin 2C receptors interacting with antipsychotics for schizophrenia and depression leads to the increase in weight. Similar side effects occur with other metabolic changing drugs, such as many types of birth control and thyroid medications.

According to the study, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, many people who use antipsychotics have found that after using these drugs for an extended period of time they experience side effects such as blood fat abnormalities, type 2 diabetes and weight gain. This has also been tested on laboratory mice with similar results and negative side effects — researchers found that the mice given the antipsychotic drug olanzapine (brand name Zyprexa) showed metabolic changes, as well as higher food intake and weight gain.

However, genetically modified mice that did not have the serotonin 2C receptors that were exposed to antipsychotic drugs such as olanzapine did not have a decrease in metabolic rates or gain weight. Ultimately, the serotonin 2C receptors were at fault. Researchers found that giving the weight-loss drug lorcaserin (brand name Belviq), which activates the 2C receptors, counteracted decreased metabolic rates and prevented weight gain in the mice.


Amanda Livingston

Amanda Livingston

Amanda Livingston is a recent graduate of Ithaca College, a New York City-based writer, and an aspiring children's book editor. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Publishing: Print and Digital Media at New York University.


Did you find this article helpful?


Latest News

News Scan: Breast Cancer, THC Overdose, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Junk Food

News Scan: Breast Cancer, THC Overdose, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Junk Food

Breast cancer tops the list this week with two research studies concluding worse news than expected. For those who continue to claim that no one overdoses on cannabis or THC, see the story below. Never underestimate how much people will underestimate the power of “herbs” to harm. Carpal tunnel brought…

News Scan: Warfarin, A-Fib, Lavender Oil and Dopamine Agonist Medicine

News Scan: Warfarin, A-Fib, Lavender Oil and Dopamine Agonist Medicine

Every so often a lay person like me slaps her forehead and says out loud, “what took so long?” A veggie works better than a medicine, why not use the veggie? Talking to patients in their home leads to better understanding by the patients? Of course. And less intuitive but…