Table of Contents
ISRN Obesity
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 390130, 9 pages
Research Article

Youth, Caregiver, and Prescriber Experiences of Antipsychotic-Related Weight Gain

1College of Pharmacy and Department of Psychiatry, Dalhousie University, 5968 College Street, P.O. Box 15000, Halifax, NS, Canada B3H 4R2
2Department of Psychiatry and College of Pharmacy, Dalhousie University, QEII HSC, AJLB 7517, 5909 Veterans’ Memorial Lane, Halifax, NS, Canada B3H 2E2
3School of Population Health, University of Queensland, Herston, QLD 4006, Australia
4Department of Health and Wellness, Barrington Tower, P.O. Box 488, Halifax, NS, Canada B3J 2R8
5Dalhousie University, Department of Psychiatry, Dalhousie University/IWK Health Centre 5850 University Avenue, P.O. Box 9700, Halifax, NS, Canada B3K 6R8
6School of Nursing, Dalhousie University, 5869 University Avenue, P.O. Box 15000, Halifax, NS, Canada B3H 4R2

Received 23 July 2013; Accepted 29 August 2013

Academic Editors: S. Straube and G. S. H. Yeo

Copyright © 2013 Andrea Lynn Murphy et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objectives. To explore the lived experience of youth, caregivers, and prescribers with antipsychotic medications. Design. We conducted a qualitative interpretive phenomenology study. Youth aged 11 to 25 with recent experience taking antipsychotics, the caregivers of youth taking antipsychotics, and the prescribers of antipsychotics were recruited. Subjects. Eighteen youth, 10 caregivers (parents), and 11 prescribers participated. Results. Eleven of 18 youth, six of ten parents, and all prescribers discussed antipsychotic-related weight gain. Participants were attuned to the numeric weight changes usually measured in pounds. Significant discussions occurred around weight changes in the context of body image, adherence and persistence, managing weight increases, and metabolic effects. These concepts were often inextricably linked but maintained the significance as separate issues. Participants discussed tradeoffs regarding the perceived benefits and risks of weight gain, often with uncertainty and inadequate information regarding the short- and long-term consequences. Conclusion. Antipsychotic-related weight gain in youth influences body image and weight management strategies and impacts treatment courses with respect to adherence and persistence. In our study, the experience of monitoring for weight and metabolic changes was primarily reactive in nature. Participants expressed ambiguity regarding the short- and long-term consequences of weight and metabolic changes.