Zyprexa, Seroquel Use Among Kids Linked to Dramatic Weight Gain

A new study has found that use of newer atypical antipsychotics, such as Seroquel and Zyprexa, can cause rapid and dramatic weight gain among children.

The study, conducted by scientists at Zucker Hillside Hospital and the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, was published today by the Journal of the American Medical Association. Researchers looked at 272 children between 4 and 19 years old in New York and Long Island to evaluate the weight gain side effects of antipsychotics on children.

After only 11 weeks, researchers found that Zyprexa side effects resulted in an average weight gain of 18.7 pounds and side effects of Seroquel resulted in an average weight increase of 13.5 pounds. Other drugs in the same class include Risperdal, which was found to increase weight by 11.7 pounds on average, and Abilify, which had an average weight gain of 9.7 pounds. By comparison, children who were not taking any of the medications had an average weight gain of less than half a pound.

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In addition to the weight gain effects, researchers found changes in the children’s glucose levels, lipids, triglycerides and cholesterol which could not be explained simply by factoring in the weight gain. Zyprexa, again, caused the most metabolic changes, particularly in glucose and lipid parameters. Seroquel also had a significant effect on lipids.

The dramatic weight gain over short periods of time found among children raise concerns about the long-term health problems the children may be exposed to, such as diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

The results come as AstraZeneca faces thousands of Seroquel lawsuits that allege the company failed to adequately warn about the risk of weight gain, which caused users to develop diabetes and other serious health conditions. Although internal documents produced during the Seroquel litigation suggest that the company was aware of the Seroquel diabetes problems, the drug maker continues to fight the cases and has spent over $600 million in defense costs before the first case has gone to trial. All federal Seroquel cases have been consolidated in an MDL, or multidistrict litigation, that is centralized in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.

Eli Lilly has also faced legal a number of legal claims over side effects of Zyprexa. The drug maker has already paid over $2.5 billion to settle individual and government Zyprexa lawsuits for failing to adequately disclose the risk of diabetes and weight gain. They have been accused of fraudulent marketing of the drug for uses that they had not established were safe or effective.

Atypical antipsychotics generate more than $12 billion in sales every year, with Seroquel (quetiapine fumarate) leading the pack with nearly $4.45 billion in sales last year.

2 Comments

  • deniseOctober 5, 2010 at 12:36 am

    i had told my doctor about the dramatical weight gaing of eighty pounds with zypreza how ever it was a strugle to get me of the medication now im strugleing with obesity and know they cant do nothing about it is this suitable if any one could help me please im so struggleling with this issue for years...

  • floraOctober 29, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    The atypical Abilify /aripiprazole has, in some diagnosed instances caused a toxic encephalopathy. This can occur during a gradual cross over from another atypical, such as Zyprexa, or Clozaril The cognitive losses and physical impairments (problem with normal gait; s/swallowing as similar to after a stroke) are either long term or permanent. The atypical Seroquel requires regular eye checkup[Show More]The atypical Abilify /aripiprazole has, in some diagnosed instances caused a toxic encephalopathy. This can occur during a gradual cross over from another atypical, such as Zyprexa, or Clozaril The cognitive losses and physical impairments (problem with normal gait; s/swallowing as similar to after a stroke) are either long term or permanent. The atypical Seroquel requires regular eye checkups due to possible development of cataracts. Depakote/valproate/ divalproex -- A medication widely used after a brain injury is wonderfully effective. HOWEVER, it may cause severe anemia. In one case, gastroenterologists, hematologists, and cancer specialists were all called in -- not one of them looked at the meds list &figured out the problem. Finally an Emergency Dept. doctor did poiint out that the Depakote (after two years' use) was responsible for the need for blood transfusions (of PLATELETS) -- SO SEVERE WAS THE ANEMIA. The process of coming off Depakote when it has to be discontinued can be a horror story. -- I am a journalist, wrote for the Boston Phoenix earlier. My collection is in social justice Collection, Northeastern University (Boston). The above patient is my son.

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