Monday, September 17, 2012

Antipsychotics Can Prime Brain's Food-Reward Circuitry

The reason why the antipsychotic medication olanzapine often causes weight gain in patients is because it activates brain circuitry known to respond to food rewards, suggests a neuroimaging study conducted on healthy subjects and published recently in the Archives of General Psychiatry. The subjects took olanzapine for only a week, but nonethelesss it caused a marked increase in food consumption and weight. The lead researcher was Jose Mathews, M.D., of Washington University.

However, olanzapine's propensity to cause weight gain may have a silver lining—helping individuals with anorexia nervosa put on much-needed weight. To learn more about this topic, see Psychiatric News.

Comprehensive information for clinicians on how to deal with antipsychotic-provoked weight gain and other sequelae of psychoactive medication use, including responding to emergency situations, can be found in a new book from American Psychiatric Publishing titled Managing the Side Effects of Psychotropic Medications.

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