The experience of weight gain as a result of taking second-generation antipsychotic medications: the mental health consumer perspective

Authors


Correspondence:

K. Usher

School of Nursing, Midwifery & Nutrition

James Cook University

PO Box 6811

Cairns

Qld 4870

Australia

E-mail: kim.usher@jcu.edu.au

Abstract

Accessible summary

  • Weight gain is a known, predictable side-effect of second-generation antipsychotic drugs.
  • Study participants reported struggling to manage the insatiable appetite and weight gained associated with the drugs.
  • Cessation of prescribed medication was considered by most as a way of managing the weight gain associated with the drugs.

Abstract

This interpretive qualitative study aimed to describe and construct the meaning of the experience of living with the weight gain associated with second-generation antipsychotics. A qualitative study that incorporated the tenets of phenomenology and utilized in-depth interviews was conducted with eight mental health consumers. Thematic analysis resulted in three themes: Grappling with the weight; Living with the consequences of being overweight; and Experiencing negative emotions about the weight gain. The findings indicate that consumers struggle to manage the insatiable appetite and the related weight gain associated with second-generation antipsychotic medication, as well as the numerous associated physical and emotional issues. Adherence with prescribed second-generation antipsychotic medication was also affected and a number of the participants indicated they had ceased or considered ceasing their medication because of the weight gain associated with the drugs.

Ancillary