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Psychotropic medications linked to obesity

Data presented at the Conference of the Anxiety Disorders Association of America show that psychotropic medications—specifically antidepressants and antipsychotics—are associated with higher rates of obesity.

“There are issues that haven’t really been addressed in a population that already is at risk for unhealthy behaviors, since the risk for obesity is added on top of their mental illness,” said first author Candyce D. Tart, MA, PhD, candidate in the Anxiety Research and Treatment Program within the Psychology Department at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas.

This research shows that the obesity rate among individuals taking antidepressants during the past 12 months was 1.5 times greater compared with individuals not taking these medications. In addition, the obesity rate among subjects taking antipsychotics was more than double.

“If we are going to prescribe medications, we need to assist with addressing the possible risk of increased obesity in this population and counsel them accordingly about increasing their physical activity level,” Dr. Tart told Medscape Psychiatry. She added that physicians could also help such patients by providing them with nutritional and physical activity recommendations.

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