Metabolic Impact of Switching Antipsychotic Therapy to Aripiprazole After Weight Gain: A Pilot Study

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Abstract

Switching antipsychotic regimen to agents with low weight gain potential has been suggested in patients who gain excessive weight on their antipsychotic therapy. In an open-label pilot study, we evaluated the metabolic and psychiatric efficacy of switching to aripiprazole in 15 (9 men, 6 women) outpatients with schizophrenia who had gained at least 10 kg on their previous antipsychotic regimen. Individuals had evaluation of glucose tolerance, insulin resistance (insulin suppression test), lipid concentrations, and psychiatric status before and after switching to aripiprazole for 4 months. A third of the individuals could not psychiatrically tolerate switching to aripiprazole. In the remaining individuals, psychiatric symptoms significantly improved with decline in Clinical Global Impression Scale (by 26%, P = 0.015) and Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (by 22%, P = 0.023). Switching to aripiprazole did not alter weight or metabolic outcomes (fasting glucose, insulin resistance, and lipid concentrations) in the patients of whom 73% were insulin resistant and 47% had impaired or diabetic glucose tolerance at baseline. In conclusion, switching to aripiprazole alone does not ameliorate the highly prevalent metabolic abnormalities in the schizophrenia population who have gained weight on other second generation antipsychotic medications.

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