Breakthrough to reduce antipsychotic drug-induced obesity
It can be noticeable after only a couple of weeks, and four years ago scientists at the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute found the reason why.
One of the common drugs prescribed to schizophrenia sufferers – olanzapine – has an impact on the histaminergic system which regulates appetite.
With that knowledge, the team has been trying to find a way to fight it.
Associate Professor Chao Deng has been testing another drug called betahistine, which is usually used for vestibular disorders like vertigo and dizziness.
When taken with olazapinem, his team noticed a massive decrease in appetite in an animal study.
“We wanted to find a safe drug which we could combine with their treatment and we got excellent and surprising results [with betahistine],” Associate Professor Deng said.
He says current treatment both stimulates appetite and changes the way the body metabolises food, both contributing to weight gain.
The information, which was recently published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, will be passed on to drug companies in the hope of improving further treatment.