Olanzapine and food craving: a case control study


Correspondence to: M. Abbas, Consultant Psychiatrist, Bradgate Mental Health Unit, Groby Road, Leicester, LE3 9EJ, UK. E-mail: mohdgum@hotmail.com



Antipsychotic-induced weight gain is a problematic side effect. The mechanism is still not fully understood. Carbohydrate (and possibly other food) cravings have been suggested in literature, but not been systematically investigated.


To investigate the hypothesis that food cravings, especially for carbohydrate, are responsible for olanzapine-induced weight gain.


A case control design was used to measure general and specific food cravings using Food Craving Inventory (White et al., 2002) in three groups: patients with a diagnosis of schizophrenia taking olanzapine (Number = 20) or typical antipsychotics (Number = 20) and in a healthy control group (Number = 20).


No statistically significant differences were found between the three groups in the craving scores. There was a trend in the typical group to show more cravings than other groups.


Our study failed to prove the hypothesis that carbohydrate craving is responsible for olanzapine-induced weight gain. This conclusion is limited by the small number of the subjects included. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.