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Atypical Antipsychotic Weight Gain: What You Should Know

What Are Atypical Antipsychotics?

Atypical antipsychotics are a class of drugs used to treat certain mental disorders, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, Tourette’s syndrome, and certain types of depression. These drugs work by blocking certain neurotransmitters in the brain and thus reducing the severity of symptoms. Atypical antipsychotics also have fewer side effects than traditional antipsychotics, making them an appealing choice for many people.

How Can Atypical Antipsychotics Cause Weight Gain?

Atypical antipsychotics can cause weight gain due to their effects on certain hormones. These drugs can increase levels of the hormone leptin, which helps regulate hunger and metabolism. They can also increase levels of the hormone ghrelin, which stimulates appetite. As a result, people who take these medications may experience increased cravings and a slowed metabolism, leading to weight gain.

Who Is at Risk of Experiencing Atypical Antipsychotic Weight Gain?

Anyone who takes atypical antipsychotics is at risk of experiencing weight gain. However, some people are more likely to experience this side effect than others. People who have existing metabolic disorders, such as diabetes or high cholesterol, may be more likely to experience weight gain. People who take higher doses of the drug or take it for a longer period of time are also at increased risk.

How Can Atypical Antipsychotic Weight Gain Be Managed?

If you are taking atypical antipsychotics and are concerned about weight gain, there are steps you can take to manage your risk. Eating a healthy, balanced diet and exercising regularly can help you maintain a healthy weight. It’s also important to talk to your doctor about any other medications you’re taking, as some of these can also increase your risk of weight gain. Finally, if you are experiencing significant weight gain, you may need to adjust your dose or switch medications.


Atypical antipsychotics can cause weight gain, but this side effect is manageable. Eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and talking to your doctor about other medications you’re taking can all help you manage your risk. If you’re concerned about weight gain, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor about adjusting your dose or switching medications.

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