Abstract

Few studies have examined gender differences in the propensity to gain weight on clozapine. Weight gain increases risk for many medical illnesses and is of particular concern for people with schizophrenia who are more overweight than the general population. Longstay patients in Connecticut state hospitals were randomly assigned to switch to open-label treatment with clozapine (n = 138) or to continue receiving first generation (conventional) antipsychotic medications (n = 89). Using survival and random regression models, we examined percentage of body weight gained during 2 years for patients assigned to clozapine versus those who continued taking first generation antipsychotic medications. We also examined the impact of gender on weight gain. Patients who switched to clozapine gained a greater percentage of weight (13 pounds, 7%) than did patients remaining on first generation medications (5 pounds, 4%) at the end of 2 years. Normal-weight patients on clozapine were more likely to become obese (body mass index [BMI] ≥ 30). Patients gained weight whether they switched to clozapine or remained on first generation antipsychotic medications, but weight gain was significantly greater (1 BMI unit) in the clozapine-treated group, particularly among women.