Weight Gain During a Double-Blind Multidosage Clozapine Study


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Abstract

Possible variables associated with weight gain during clozapine treatment include dosing, treatment duration, baseline body mass index (BMI), sex, and plasma norclozapine concentrations. Weight gains during a double-blind, randomized clozapine study using 100-, 300-, and 600-mg/d doses were analyzed. It was hypothesized that weight gain was associated with baseline BMI, clozapine dosing, and demographic factors. The possible contribution of plasma clozapine and norclozapine concentrations was explored. Fifty treatment-refractory schizophrenia patients were randomized to 100-, 300-, or 600-mg/d doses of clozapine for a 16-week, double-blind treatment in a research ward. Nonresponsive patients went onto a second and/or a third 16-week, double-blind treatment at the other doses. Weights of patients were measured every week. During the first clozapine treatment, weight gain varied across 3 baseline BMI categories (normal-weight patients [4.1 kg, P < 0.001], overweight patients [2.6 kg, P = 0.05], and obese patients [0.36 kg, not significant]) and according to dosing (600 mg/d [4.4 kg], 300 mg/d [2.6 kg], and 100 mg/d [1.3 kg]). Sex had no effect after controlling for baseline BMI and dose, but the African-American race had a strong significant effect despite the small number of African Americans (n = 6). At the end of the first clozapine treatment, plasma norclozapine concentration was not significantly correlated with weight gain in the total sample (r = 0.16, P = 0.32, n = 43), but seems to be strongly correlated in nonsmokers. Despite its limitations, this study indicates that baseline BMI, dosing, and, possibly, the African-American race may be major determinants of clozapine-induced weight gain.

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