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Metformin stabilizes weight in paediatric patients treated with atypical antipsychotics

Atypical antipsychotics have benefits for psychiatric illness in children and adolescents but are often accompanied by significant weight gain, possibly resulting in type 2 diabetes.

Metformin ( Glucophage ) is a medication used to regulate blood glucose in type 2 diabetes.

A 16-week double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of Metformin in managing weight gain in 39 subjects, ages 10–17, whose weight had increased by more than 10% during less than 1 year of Olanzapine ( Zyprexa ), Risperidone ( Risperdal ), or Quetiapine ( Seroquel ) therapy.

Metformin halted weight gain and decreased measures of insulin resistance.
Over 4 months, the patients taking placebo gained an additional 4.0 kg on average, while weight was stable in the Metformin group.

However, the Metformin group had a decrease in weight relative to height, as measured by body mass index, because the study was conducted in growing children.

No serious side effects occurred.

Since the substantial weight gain produced by atypical antipsychotics can decrease compliance with treatment, Metformin also has the potential to increase compliance and improve outcome.

Source: American Journal of Psychiatry, 2006