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A randomized, placebo-controlled study of zonisamide to prevent olanzapine-associated weight gain.

Author(s): McElroy SL, Winstanley E, Mori N, Martens B, McCoy J, Moeller D, Guerdjikova AI, Keck PE Jr.

Affiliation(s): Lindner Center of HOPE, Mason, OH 45040, USA. susan.mcelroy@lindnercenter.org

Publication date & source: 2012, J Clin Psychopharmacol. , 32(2):165-72

Weight gain is commonly observed with olanzapine treatment. Zonisamide is an antiepileptic drug associated with weight loss. This study examined the effectiveness of zonisamide in preventing weight gain in 42 patients beginning olanzapine for bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Each patient had a body mass index of 22 mg/kg or greater and was randomized to taking olanzapine with either zonisamide (n = 20) or placebo (n = 22) for 16 weeks. The primary outcome measure was change in body weight in kilograms from baseline. In the primary analysis using longitudinal regression, patients who received zonisamide had a significantly slower rate of weight gain and increase in body mass index than those who received placebo. The patients treated with zonisamide gained a mean (SD) of 0.9 (3.3) kg, whereas those treated with placebo gained a mean (SD) of 5.0 (5.5) kg; P = 0.01. None of the patients in the zonisamide group, compared with 7 patients (33%) in the placebo group, gained 7% of body weight or greater from baseline (Fisher exact test, P = 0.009). The zonisamide group, however, reported significantly more cognitive impairment as an adverse event than the placebo group (25% vs 0, respectively; P = 0.02). Zonisamide was effective for mitigating weight gain in patients with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia initiating treatment with olanzapine but was associated with cognitive impairment as an adverse event.

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