The Association of Weight Gain and Olanzapine Plasma Concentrations

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Atypical antipsychotics, including olanzapine, have been associated with clinically significant weight gain in some patients. The purpose of this study was to determine if weight gain was associated with increasing plasma concentrations during olanzapine treatment in subjects with schizophrenia. This study included 39 acutely ill subjects with schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or schizophreniform disorder (DSM-III-R or DSM-IV). Assessments included the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS), the Scale for Assessment of Negative Symptoms (SANS), and weight measurements. Olanzapine was titrated to a dose of 5 to 20 mg/d for 2 to 6 weeks. A 24-hour plasma concentration was obtained after 6 weeks of treatment. Analysis using a receiver operator characteristic curve identified a threshold dose-weighted plasma concentration of 20.6 ng/mL being associated with an increased likelihood of clinically significant weight gain (≥7% baseline weight) during olanzapine treatment. The associations remained significant after adjusting for age, gender, baseline body mass index, baseline symptom severity, and symptom improvement (OR = 10.1; 95% CI, 1.3-75.0; P = 0.024). Similar analysis determined that a threshold olanzapine dose of 13.3 mg/d was associated with ≥7% weight gain. However, after adjusting for potential confounders, the results did not remain significant. The association of weight gain with plasma concentrations during treatment with olanzapine may support the utilization of plasma drug concentration as a marker for antipsychotic-induced weight gain in the treatment of schizophrenia.

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