By Shaun Heasley
July 26, 2016
New research suggests that some of the medications often used to address symptoms associated with autism are more likely than others to cause weight gain.
In a study looking at more than 200 young people on the spectrum, researchers found that some antipsychotic medications appeared to have no impact on body mass index while others led to significant weight gain even though the drugs are designed to tackle similar issues.
Olanzapine, sold under the brand name Zyprexa, was associated with the highest risk of weight gain, according to findings published online this month in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology.
Risperidone and aripiprazole, sold as Risperdal and Abilify, led to some weight gain as well, though it was not as significant.
Meanwhile, the study found that ziprasidone and quetiapine, also known as Geodon and Seroquel, were not linked to an increase in body mass index.
For the study, researchers reviewed medical charts for individuals with autism between the ages of 2 and 20 who had each taken one of five second-generation antipsychotics for up to four years.
“Caregivers treating children and teens with ASD, and parents, can use this information to balance the risks and benefits of (second-generation antipsychotics) for treating irritability associated with autism spectrum disorders,” said Logan Wink, a research psychiatrist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and a coauthor of the study.
Currently, there are no medications available to treat the core symptoms of autism, though individuals with the developmental disorder are often prescribed drugs to treat issues related to the condition.