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Antipsychotics and Weight Gain

Q. When I developed symptoms of severe depression, a top psychiatrist focused only on my anxiety and prescribed antipsychotics. I gained 60 pounds in three months.

My depression expanded as if the doctor had applied helium to my blue balloon. Obesity made me unrecognizable and I went back to smoking. I was disgusted with myself.

My next physician paid attention to my nightmare and took me off the antipsychotics. I lost 30 pounds in three months. I’ve survived this ordeal, but I still have a long way to go to get back to normal. I wish doctors would be more careful when prescribing antipsychotic medications.

A. Second-generation antipsychotic medications such as Abilify, Geodon, Seroquel and Zyprexa have been linked to serious weight gain, obesity and type 2 diabetes (Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Sept. 2010). We’re sorry you have suffered such a nightmare. People need to be warned about this complication before they start taking drugs like these for depression.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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