For Immediate Release
Contact: Susan Preston
Program Helps Patients Treated with Antipsychotic Drugs
Reduce Weight and Body Mass Index (BMI)
Study Demonstrates Nutritional Counseling, Exercise and Behavioral
Improve Outcomes in Patients with Schizophrenia and Schizoaffective
DisorderEducation about nutrition, exercise
and lifestyle choices helps patients being treated with atypical
anti-psychotic drugs for schizophrenia or schizo-affective disorder
lose weight and reduce body mass index (BMI), according to a new
study published in the August issue of Psychiatric Services.
The changes in weight and BMI of
the patients who participated in the weight management program
were both significant when compared to a group of patients who
did not receive this intervention, according to researchers from
the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ).
"We've understood for many years
that those with severe and persistent mental illness tend to struggle
with managing a healthy lifestyle," said Betty Vreeland, MSN,
APRN, BC, training coordinator of the University Behavioral HealthCare
Center for Excellence in Psychiatry at UMDNJ and author of the
study. "They are at a greater than average risk of weight gain
and obesity due to the combination of inactive, unhealthy lifestyles
and treatment with the various psychotropic medications, the combination
of which are associated with weight gain.
"This study shows that a more complete
treatment approach, one which addresses both primary mental symptoms
and physical health helps move patients' lives forward and that's
great news," Vreeland said.
The study looked at a total of
46 people with schizophrenia or schizo-affective disorder All
had been taking clozapine, olanzapine, risperidone, or quetiapine
for a minimum of three months. All were overweight or obese with
a body mass index (BMI) of at least 26 or had gained at least
five pounds within two months of starting the medication.
Thirty-one of the 46 individuals
whose weight and BMI changes are reflected in the study results
participated in a 12-week weight control program that included
weekly nutritional counseling, exercise and behavioral interventions
designed to help them implement healthy lifestyle changes.
The information about the 15 patients
identified as the "control group" for the study was compiled from
reviewing their charts over a 12-week period.
The researchers found that the
participants in the weight management program had clinically significant
reductions in weight, body mass index (BMI), and other risk factors
for long-term health problems. Specifically, participants in the
intervention group lost an average of 6 pounds (220.9 to 214.9
pounds), or 2.7 percent of body weight. Their BMI was reduced
on average from 34.32 to 32.23, a decrease of 2.8 percent. The
non-counseled participants continued to gain weight, an average
of 6.4 pounds (206.4 to 212.8 pounds), or 3.1 percent of body
weight. Their average BMI increased from 32.58 to 34.79, an increase
of 3.6 percent.
Additionally, the intervention
resulted in significant improvements in hunger rating, nutrition
knowledge, and increases in the amount of time devoted to exercise
Vreeland said the researchers then
continued to follow the 31 patients for a year. "We found that
not only were they able to keep the weight off during the time,
but we also found an improvement in physiologic measures such
as blood pressure and hemoglobin A1C1, a measurement that looks
at what the average fasting flood glucose levels are over a three-month
period. These improvements can result in meaningful reductions
in morbidity and the risk of early mortality."
The investigator-initiated study
was funded by Eli Lilly and Company.