A recent 16-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial found that treating children and adolescents with metformin(Drug information on metformin) (Glucophage, Fortamet) may help curb the weight gain and decrease the insulin sensitivity and abnormal glucose metabolism that often results from atypical antipsychotic use. The results of this study, by David Klein and colleagues, were published in the December 2006 issue of The American Journal of Psychiatry.
Thirty-nine patients aged 10 to 17 years who had gained weight by more than 10% during the past year and were currently taking atypical antipsychotics were included in the study. Patients were randomized to active drug (n = 18) or placebo (n = 20) with no significant differences in gender or age reported. Body weight, body mass index, waist circumference, and fasting insulin and glucose levels were measured regularly.
The patients who were given dietary instruction and placebo continued to gain weight over 16 weeks, while metformin-treated patients showed little change. In addition, mean body mass index decreased by 0.43 in the metformin-treated group and increased by a mean of 1.12 in patients receiving placebo. The homeostasis model assessment, a surrogate indicator of insulin sensitivity, decreased in metformin-treated patients as well. No serious adverse events resulted from treatment.