Association of birth weight and the development of antipsychotic induced adiposity in individuals with treatment resistant schizophrenia.


Though weight gain is a common side effect of antipsychotic treatment, there are no useful predictors of which patients are likely to be affected and to what degree. It has been shown that exposure to adverse conditions during intra-uterine life confers a vulnerability to the development of later life metabolic complications and low birth weight for gestational age has been shown to be a robust marker of such prenatal adversity. We hypothesised that patients with schizophrenia with a lower birth weight will have increased vulnerability to the weight inducing effects of antipsychotic treatment. The relationship between birth weight and total and central adiposity, measured as body mass index (BMI) and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) respectively, was examined in three groups: drug naïve first episode of psychosis (FEP) patients (n=41), treatment resistant schizophrenia (TRS) patients (n=42) and matched healthy volunteers (n=72). All analyses were controlled for age, gender and duration of treatment exposure. We found that a lower birth weight was associated with higher BMI and WHR only in TRS patients but not in FEP or controls, suggesting that prenatal adversity, as indicated by the surrogate marker of a lower birth weight, confers an increased vulnerability to clozapine induced weight gain.