Weight-Change Trajectories of Pediatric Outpatients Treated with Risperidone or Aripiprazole in a Naturalistic Setting

Marco Pozzi, Simone Pisano, Giuseppe Marano, Carla Carnovale, Carmela Bravaccio, Concetta Rafaniello, Annalisa Capuano, Francesco Rossi, Renata Rizzo, Renato Bernardini, Maria Nobile, Massimo Molteni, Emilio Clementi, Elia Biganzoli, Sonia Radice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVES: Second-generation antipsychotics (SGAs) increase appetite and weight, leading toward a metabolic syndrome. Risperidone and aripiprazole, the most widely used pediatric SGAs, have been studied predominantly in short-term clinical trials, where risperidone leads to a rapid weight increase and aripiprazole to a slower one, while long-term effects are not yet elucidated. Factors that may influence weight gain are likewise not clarified, although baseline weight, previous SGA exposure, pubertal status, and type of SGA have been suggested as moderators. We analyzed weight gain induced by risperidone and aripiprazole in a sample of pediatric outpatients enrolled into a 2-year observational study.

METHODS: We assessed at several time points their body mass index (BMI)-Z scores (age and sex-corrected and referred to national norms). We used hierarchical mixed-effects modeling to design BMI-Z trajectories and observed the effects of several variables on determining them.

RESULTS: The study group comprised of 127 patients, predominantly males (79%), of 12.6 years on average, treated with risperidone (81%) and aripiprazole (19%) for disruptive behavioral symptoms in patients with and without neurodevelopmental disorders. Overall, BMI-Z was 1.2 at first and 1.4 at last visit (no significant change). We could design four weight-change trajectories, determined by the factors: drug (risperidone/aripiprazole) and age status (children/adolescent). Additional factors not retained in the model but possibly explanatory include the previous duration of SGA treatment and a progressive patient-selection effect due to dropouts in this observational study. Risperidone treatment was associated with trends of BMI-Z increase in children and decrease in adolescents. Aripiprazole treatment was associated with significant BMI-Z increase, higher in children than in adolescents. Results are probably due to longer previous drug exposure in adolescents.

CONCLUSIONS: Children were at risk of weight gain more than adolescents, for both risperidone and, of note, aripiprazole. Adolescents and patients with long previous drug exposure tend to reach stable BMI-Z, although in the range between excessive weight and obesity.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Nov 16 2018


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