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Norfolk research shows diabetes drug helps reduce weight gain as a side effect of anti-psychotic medication

People being treated with anti-psychotic drugs for a wide range of mental health conditions could benefit from a commonly-used diabetes medication that can help reduce anti-psychotic induced weight gain.

A side effect of anti-psychotic drugs can include weight gain which ultimately leads to increased risks of physical health problems like heart disease or type 2 diabetes in people being treated for psychiatric conditions.

Anti-psychotics are a range of medications that are used for some types of mental distress or disorder - mainly schizophrenia and manic depression (bipolar disorder). They can also be used to help severe anxiety or depression.

A research literature review carried out by Asta Prajapati, Clinical Pharmacy Services Manager, at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, has just been published in the journal Progress in Neurology and Psychiatry and concludes that metformin, commonly prescribed for type 2 diabetes, could help reduce anti-psychotic induced weight gain. 

"Preventing weight gain and obesity has a major health benefit but it can be hard for people being treated with anti-psychotics to avoid putting on weight. Clearly, monitoring weight and preventing weight gain through a healthy lifestyle is important.

"The available evidence shows that metformin should be considered proactively for suitable patients who have gained an unhealthy weight on anti-psychotics and are at risk of developing other health problems such as diabetes. There is convincing evidence to support selective use of metformin for the management of anti-psychotic-induced weight gain." 

The results of the study have just been published in the journal Progress in Neurology and Psychiatry ‚Äč