Association Between Early and Rapid Weight Gain and Change in Weight Over One Year of Olanzapine Therapy in Patients with Schizophrenia and Related Disorders

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Weight gain is an important issue in the use of atypical antipsychotics, including olanzapine. A retrospective analysis of patterns of weight gain and possible covariates was performed for 1191 patients diagnosed with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder who were treated with olanzapine for up to 52 weeks. Patients were dichotomized into 2 main groups according to the percentage of body weight gained during the first 6 weeks of treatment with olanzapine: (1) patients who gained ≥7% of their body weight (Rapid Weight Gain Group [RWG]), and (2) patients who lost weight, gained no weight, or gained <7% of their body weight (Nonrapid Weight Gain Group [NRWG]). Results demonstrated that approximately 15% of the patient population showed rapid increases in weight (RWG group), whereas 85% of patients gained weight more slowly or not at all (NRWG group). Patients in the RWG group gained an average of 4% of their body weight (approximately 4-7 lb) within the first 2 weeks of treatment with olanzapine. Furthermore, patients in the RWG group were younger, had a lower baseline body mass index, were more likely to report an increase in appetite, and showed a more robust clinical response compared with patients in the NRWG group. Over the course of 52 weeks, patients in the RWG group gained significantly more weight and reached a higher plateau for mean weight increase at 38 weeks compared with the mean increase observed for patients in the NRWG group. By measuring the weight of patients during the first few weeks of olanzapine treatment and by assessing changes in appetite, clinicians may be able to identify those patients at risk for substantial weight gain.

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