People with learning disabilities on atypical antipsychotics can gain 10% of initial body weight over course of therapy

medicine in blisterpack

Atypical antipsychotic medications, sometimes described as second generation (for example clozapine, risperidone) have been associated with a number of side effects amongst which is weight gain. The authors of this review point out that such weight gain can be significant in people with learning disabilities using such medications.

Previous studies have shown that majority of people treated with atypical antipsychotic medication can gain at least 10% of their initial body weight over the course of therapy. Genetic constitution is an important factor influencing weight gain.

The authors review the existing literature on psychopharmacogenetics of atypical antipsychotic-induced weight gain and the importance of this research for individuals with learning disabilities.

Why research on the pharmacogenetics of atypical antipsychotic-induced weight gain in individuals with intellectual disabilities is warranted, Sleister H & Valdovinos M in Journal of Mental Health Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 4, 2, 65-78

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John Northfield

After qualifying as a social worker, John worked in community learning disability teams before getting involved in a number of long-stay hospital closure programmes, working to develop individual plans for people moving into their own homes. He worked for BILD, helping to develop the Quality Network and was editorial lead for the NHS electronic library learning disabilities specialist collection. This led him to found the Learning Disabilities Elf site with Andre Tomlin as a way of making the evidence accessible to practitioners in health and social care. Most recently he has worked as part of Mencap's national quality team and also been involved in a number of national website developments, including the General Medical Council's learning disabilities site.

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