Many patients on anti-psychotic medications complain of weight gain and other side-effects. More recently, a study by scientists at the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System has shown that a gene called MC4R or melanocortin 4 receptor is possibly responsible for weight gain seen in kids taking psychiatric medicines.

The trial presented in the Archives of General Psychiatry, incorporated children who were treated for the first time with anti-psychotic medications. Further, the outcomes were affirmed in 3 additional studies conducted among people suffering from psychological issues.

“This study offers the prospect of being able to identify individuals who are at greatest risk for severe weight gain following antipsychotic treatment. We hope that those who are at risk could receive more intensive or alternative treatment that would reduce the potential for weight gain and we are currently conducting studies to identify such treatment,” commented Anil Malhotra, MD, investigator at the Zucker Hillside Hospital Department of Psychiatry Research and Feinstein Institute for Medical Research.

A gene called MC4R or melanocortin 4 receptor was detected by the team, which had been initially linked to type 2 diabetes and obesity. In the current analysis, this genetic variant appeared to increase almost 20 kilos in patients.The investigators studied the effects of second-generation antipsychotics (SGAs), which are generally used for the treatment of psychotic and non-psychotic disorders, in this trial.

These tablets are normally associated with weight gain along with heart disease risk. Those suffering from severe mental diseases apparently encounter decreased life-expectancy due to such pills. Moreover, the weight gain factor deters many patients from consuming these medications.