New Developments Could Lead to Breakthrough in Anti-Psychotics, Obesity Link
> 2/13/2007 10:29:32 AM

As we've discussed in the past, anti-psychotics can be a very effective treatment for individuals dealing with schizophrenia and other disorders. These same drugs, which have provided so much relief, have however, also burdened many with weight gain and all the problems that it can bring with it. This can put prescribing physicians in a difficult position because their clients need anti-psychotics to function, but run the risk of early death through any number of complications that the treatment itself can bring about.

Newly published research from a team of doctors at Johns Hopkins reportedly has isolated the cause of the weight gain for users of anti-psychotics, offering hope that newer drugs could be developed to be just as effective as the current line, but without the troublesome side-effects.

Reuters reports:

Antipsychotic medications such as Zyprexa, made by Eli Lilly and Co., increase the activity of an enzyme called AMPK in cells in the part of the brain that regulates eating behavior, according to research in mice...

The researchers also showed that AMPK's increase was because the antipsychotic drugs were interfering with the important protein histamine, which is involved in allergy symptoms and long has been suspected for a role in weight control.

This breakthrough should raise hopes for a future where weight gain doesn't necessarily coincide with treatment for schizophrenia, extreme anxiety, bipolar disorder or other mental illnesses that might be treated with these types of drugs. As the researchers point out in the Reuters write-up, anti-psychotics are powerful, valuable tools in the treatment process, and reducing the side-effects will hopefully make them easier for mental illness sufferers to use. There is even hope that in the short term, this increased understanding could give way to more effective monitoring and coping with the side-effects as they currently are.

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