BioMed Central Online

Published: 14 February 2022

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Many second-generation antipsychotics (SGAs) are associated with weight gain and cardiometabolic effects. Antipsychotic-associated weight gain is linked to treatment interruptions, potentially increasing risk of relapse and hospitalization. This retrospective study assessed clinically significant weight gain (CSWG), treatment interruptions, and development of cardiometabolic conditions in patients with schizophrenia (SZ) or bipolar I disorder (BD-I) following initiation of oral SGAs with moderate to high weight gain risk.

Patients with no prior use of moderate to high weight gain risk oral SGAs were identified from patient-level medical/pharmacy claims and electronic medical records (January 2013–February 2020; OM1 Real-World Data Cloud). Those with ≥ 1 weight measurement in both the 12 months preceding and 3 months after SGA initiation (index date) were analyzed for continuous changes in weight, CSWG (≥ 7% and ≥ 10% increases from baseline), treatment interruptions (switches/discontinuations), and development of cardiometabolic conditions.

Median follow-up times in the SZ (n = 8174) and BD-I (n = 9142) cohorts were 153.4 and 159.4 weeks, respectively; 45.5% and 50.7% were obese at baseline. Mean (SD) percent weight increase during treatment was 3.3% (7.2) and 3.7% (7.0) for patients with SZ and BD-I, respectively, and was highest for underweight/normal weight patients (SZ: 4.8% [8.1]; BD-I: 5.5% [8.7]). More than 96% had treatment interruptions during follow-up, primarily discontinuations. CSWG and treatment interruptions occurred within a median of 13 and 14 weeks after treatment initiation, respectively. Of patients with CSWG and treatment interruptions, approximately 75% did not return to baseline weight during follow-up. Among those without baseline cardiometabolic conditions, 14.7% and 11.3% of patients with SZ or BD-I, respectively, developed ≥ 1 condition over 12 months post-index. Incidence was generally highest among those who were overweight/obese at baseline and those who experienced CSWG.

In this analysis of real-world data, both weight gain and treatment interruptions occurred early in treatment for patients with SZ or BD-I. Treatment-associated weight gain persisted despite switching or discontinuing index treatment. Additionally, cardiometabolic morbidity increased within 12 months of treatment initiation. Patients with SZ or BD-I are at greater risk than the general population for cardiometabolic conditions; weight gain associated with SGAs may exacerbate these health risks.