(dailyRx News) Schizophrenia patients treated with antipsychotics are often affected by serious side effects, including weight gain and missed menstrual periods. A new study suggests that the drug metformin can help.
In a recent study conducted by both American and Chinese hospital psychiatrists, the drug metformin was tested to see if it could reverse the hormone-altering side effects of antipsychotic medications in schizophrenic patients.
The results showed that metformin was effective in restoring menstruation and normalizing hormone levels.
Ren-Rong Wu, MD, PhD, psychiatrist at the Mental Health Hospital at Central South University in Changsha China, worked with psychiatrists in both China and the US to find a treatment for amenorrhea and weight gain in patients taking antipsychotics for schizophrenia.
Dr. Wu and her colleagues designed a double-blind, randomized study with the drug metformin. They asked 84 women aged 18-40 who were experiencing their first episode of schizophrenia and were being treated with antipsychotics to take either a placebo or 1,000 mg/day of metformin for six months.
Seventy-six of the 84 women completed the entire six months of the trial. Over 66 percent of patients in the metformin group experienced a return of menstruation compared to only 4.8 percent of the placebo group.
Body mass index (BMI) and insulin resistance index were also tested before and after the trial. The metformin group had a lowered mean BMI of 0.93 compared to the placebo group, which showed an increase in mean BMI of 0.85.
The authors concluded that “Metformin was effective in reversing antipsychotic-induced adverse events, including restoration of menstruation, promotion of weight loss, and improvement in insulin resistance in female patients with schizophrenia.”
This study was published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, June 2012. No financial information was given and no conflicts of interest were found.