What strategies help prevent and manage medication-associated weight gain in patients with schizophrenia? Peter Buckley, MD, discusses these issues here:
Before starting medication:
. Get a good baseline weight measurement
. Get a range of metabolic tests (cholesterol, lipids, glucose)
. Re-measure periodically to measure weight trajectory
. Monitor the pattern of weight gain after starting a new medication. Early moderate weight gain is a strong predictor of future weight gain.
. Diet and exercise, especially early-on before weight gain occurs, is important, and far easier than losing weight once pounds have been added.
. In general, instead of reaching for antiobesity drugs, consider substituting an alternate medication to manage underlying schizophrenia symptoms.
(More: Nutritional and OTC Supplements in Schizophrenia: What Role? Video 2:53 minutes)