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Metformin May Help Treatment-Associated Weight Gain in ASD

HealthDay News

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WEDNESDAY, Aug. 24, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Metformin may be effective in decreasing weight gain associated with atypical antipsychotic use in autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to a study published online Aug. 24 in JAMA Psychiatry.

Michael Aman, Ph.D., a retired professor of psychology at The Ohio State University in Columbus, and colleagues enrolled 60 individuals with ASD, aged 6 to 17. The patients were overweight due to the side effects of taking antipsychotic medications for irritability and agitation. For the study, participants were given either metformin or an inactive placebo for 16 weeks.

The researchers found that patients given metformin had much greater reductions in body mass index than those who took the placebo. Metformin was well tolerated overall.

"Our results showed that gastrointestinal side effects occurred for more days in the metformin group compared to placebo group, but the large majority of children taking metformin were able to maintain their treatment," Aman said in a university news release.

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