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Keywords:

  • schizophrenia;
  • antipsychotics;
  • weight gain;
  • psychoeducation;
  • olanzapine

Purpose: To assess the effect of an educational intervention on antipsychotic-induced weight gain among patients with schizophrenia.

Design and Methods: Quasi-experimental. Seventy patients with a DSM-IV diagnosis of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder entered this 6-month study condicted in the United States. All participants began receiving olanzapine treatment when they entered the study. The patients were then randomly assigned to an intervention group or a standard care group. Over the next 4-months, the intervention group participated in weekly psychoeducation classes focused on nutrition, exercise, and living a healthy lifestyle. Patients were followed for an additional 2 months to assess weight change.

Findings: A statistically significant difference in weight change between the two groups was observed post-treatment and at endpoint. At endpoint, the mean weight change of the intervention group was -.06 pounds, while the mean weight change in the standard care group was 9.57 pounds. In both groups, men gained significantly more weight than did women.

Conclusions: The results indicate that a structured educational intervention might have a positive effect on antipsychotic-induced weight gain among patients with schizophrenia.