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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 131  |  Issue : 12  |  Page : 1490-1491

Metformin for Antipsychotic-Related Metabolic Syndrome in Children: Fact or Fiction?

1 Al-Manara CAP Centre, Kuwait Centre for Mental Health, Shuwaikh, State of Kuwait, Kuwait
2 Paediatrics Department, Cleveland Clinic Children's, Cleveland, Ohio, USA

Date of Submission25-Jan-2018
Date of Web Publication08-Jun-2018

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Ahmed Naguy
Al-Manara CAP Centre, Kuwait Centre for Mental Health, Jamal Abdul-Nassir Street, Shuwaikh, State of Kuwait
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0366-6999.233944

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How to cite this article:
Naguy A, El-Sori D. Metformin for Antipsychotic-Related Metabolic Syndrome in Children: Fact or Fiction?. Chin Med J 2018;131:1490-1

How to cite this URL:
Naguy A, El-Sori D. Metformin for Antipsychotic-Related Metabolic Syndrome in Children: Fact or Fiction?. Chin Med J [serial online] 2018 [cited 2018 Dec 18];131:1490-1. Available from: http://www.cmj.org/text.asp?2018/131/12/1490/233944

Use of atypical antipsychotics (AAPs) in child/adolescent psychiatry (CAP) population is rife to address a wide array of indications. Apart from the Food and Drug Administration approval in schizophrenia, bipolar mood disorders, irritability in autism spectrum disorder, and Tourette's syndrome, AAPs are commonly prescribed off-label for aggression in intellectual disability or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, augmentation in depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder, borderline personality disorder, anorexia nervosa, posttraumatic stress disorder, insomnia, etc.

Initial enthusiasm about AAPs benign (neurologic) side effect profile has been tempered by emergence of metabolic syndrome (MetS). CAP population, by virtue of age, is at a heightened risk compared to adult counterparts. MetS increases the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus by 5–6 times and that of coronary artery disease by 3–6-folds. MetS is tied to weight gain and insulin resistance (IR).

AAPs induce weight gain by H1 blockade and 5HT2C antagonism actions on proopiomelanocortin neurones. Pancreatic M3 blockade might be contributory. Heat shock protein-72 (HSP-72) is a molecular chaperone that protects against IR; AAPs were shown to reduce HSP-72. Clozapine and olanzapine are very notorious in this regard.

Strategies to mitigate MetS include judicious use of metabolic-friendly AAPs (e.g., aripiprazole), dietary and life-style modifications, and pharmacologic interventions.

One such pharmacologic maneuver that gained popularity lately is add-on use of metformin, a biguanide oral hypoglycemic agent, which is also used in polycystic ovary disease. Most adult data are derived from Chinese randomized controlled trials (RCTs), supporting the use of metformin not only for AAP-induced weight gain but also for AAP-induced hyperlipidemia.[1],[2] Metformin also helps in antipsychotic-induced hyperprolactinemia.[3] Interestingly, metformin was shown in a 24-week RCT to possess antidepressant and precognitive actions in diabetics.[4] Metformin is not metabolized by hepatic microsomal enzymes, hence no pharmacokinetic interactions can be expected.

Evidence in CAP comes from two open-label trials and three RCTs (two positive and one negative). One 12-week open-label trial by Morrison et al.[5] enrolled 19 patients, age group of 10–18 years, and was positive. Another 12-week open-label trial involving 11 patients aged 10–18 years by Shin et al.[6] confirmed safety and tolerability in improving triglyceride level but with nonsignificant weight loss. One positive 16-week RCT by Klein et al.[7] enrolled 39 patients, age group of 10–17 years and metformin was dosed at 850 mg bid. Another 12-week RCT by Arman et al.[8] of using metformin 1000 mg for weight gain associated with initiation of risperidone in children and adolescents below 20 (n = 49) years old but was negative. Recently, Anagnostou et al.[9] conducted a 16-week RCT, involving 61 patients of autistic population and including children as young as 6 years of age, which was positive without gastrointestinal tolerability issues that are commonly overrepresented in this population.

Of note, as metformin decreases insulin-like growth factor-1, which has been shown to be deficient in antipsychotic-naïve schizophrenics, cases of psychotic exacerbations by metformin have been reported.[10],[11]

Monitoring of metabolic screen during AAPs use is then mandatory and instituting effective measures to ameliorate MetS, arguably from the outset, might curtail long-term drastic sequelae.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Wu RR, Zhao JP, Jin H, Shao P, Fang MS, Guo XF, et al. Lifestyle intervention and metformin for treatment of antipsychotic-induced weight gain: A randomized controlled trial. JAMA 2008;299:185-93. doi: 10.1001/jama.2007.56-b.  Back to cited text no. 1
Wu RR, Zhang FY, Gao KM, Ou JJ, Shao P, Jin H, et al. Metformin treatment of antipsychotic-induced dyslipidemia: An analysis of two randomized, placebo-controlled trials. Mol Psychiatry 2016;21:1537-44. doi: 10.1038/mp.2015.221.  Back to cited text no. 2
Bo QJ, Wang ZM, Li XB, Ma X, Wang CY, de Leon J, et al. Adjunctive metformin for antipsychotic-induced hyperprolactinemia: A systematic review. Psychiatry Res 2016;237:257-63. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2016.01.031.  Back to cited text no. 3
Guo M, Mi J, Jiang QM, Xu JM, Tang YY, Tian G, et al. Metformin may produce antidepressant effects through improvement of cognitive function among depressed patients with diabetes mellitus. Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol 2014;41:650-6. doi: 10.1111/1440-1681.12265.  Back to cited text no. 4
Morrison JA, Cottingham EM, Barton BA. Metformin for weight loss in pediatric patients taking psychotropic drugs. Am J Psychiatry 2002;159:655-7. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.159.4.655.  Back to cited text no. 5
Shin L, Bregman H, Breeze JL, Noyes N, Frazier JA. Metformin for weight control in pediatric patients on atypical antipsychotic medication. J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol 2009;19:275-9. doi: 10.1089/cap.2008.094.  Back to cited text no. 6
Klein DJ, Cottingham EM, Sorter M, Barton BA, Morrison JA. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of metformin treatment of weight gain associated with initiation of atypical antipsychotic therapy in children and adolescents. Am J Psychiatry 2006;163:2072-9. doi: 10.1176/ajp.2006.163.12.2072.  Back to cited text no. 7
Arman S, Sadramely MR, Nadi M, Koleini N. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of metformin treatment for weight gain associated with initiation of risperidone in children and adolescents. Saudi Med J 2008;29:1130-4.  Back to cited text no. 8
Anagnostou E, Aman MG, Handen BL, Sanders KB, Shui A, Hollway JA, et al. Metformin for treatment of overweight induced by atypical antipsychotic medication in young people with autism spectrum disorder: A randomized clinical trial. JAMA Psychiatry 2016;73:928-37. doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2016.1232.  Back to cited text no. 9
Teixeira-Ribeiro R, Bouca J, Freitas D, Fernandes N, Duarte J, Morgado P. Metformin-induced Psychosis: A Case Report. Eur Psychiatry 2015;30 Suppl 1:1859. doi: 10.1016/S0924-9338(15)31423-1.  Back to cited text no. 10
Venkatasubramanian G, Arasappa R, Rao NP, Behere RV, Gangadhar BN. Adjuvant metformin worsens psychosis in schizophrenia: A case report. Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry 2010;12. pii: PCC.09l00801. doi: 10.4088/PCC.09l00801yel.  Back to cited text no. 11


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