A quarterly publication of the Autism Research Institute

The Autism Research Review International is quarterly publication of the Autism Research Institute

Summer, 2022 | Number 3, Volume 36

Antipsychotic drugs linked to significant weight gain

A meta-analysis conducted by researchers in Canada and Denmark indicates that antipsychotic drugs, frequently prescribed for individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), often cause weight problems. 

Emily Smith and colleagues reviewed 18 randomized trials involving a total of 1,376 individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (IDD). The researchers found that “antipsychotic use is associated with significant weight gain among patients with IDD.” 

They say, “Concerningly, most reported studies were in children and adolescents, which sets up an already vulnerable population for adverse medical sequalae at an early age.” In addition, they note that long-term studies on the effects of antipsychotics in adults with IDD are lacking


“The metabolic adverse effects of antipsychotic use in individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disability: A systematic review and meta-analysis,” Emily Smith, Nicolette Stogios, Emily Au, Kateryna Maksyutynska, Riddhita De, Andrew Ji, Mikkel Erlang Sørensen, Laura St John, Hsiang-Yuan Lin, Pushpal Desarkar, Yona Lunsky, Gary Remington, Margaret Hahn, and Sri Mahavir Agarwal, Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, July 2022 (epub prior to print publication). Address: Sri Mahavir Agarwal, Department of Psychiatry, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, University of Toronto, 1051 Queen St. W, Toronto, ON M6J 1H3, Canada, [email protected].