Psychiatric medication can be a blessing for those struggling with emotional and behavioral ups and downs, but many of the drugs can also bring a nasty and little discussed side effect: dramatic weight gain.

So-called atypical antipsychotics — a class of drugs including Seroquel, Zyprexa, Geodon and Risperdal, among others — are some of the best selling prescription medications around, prescribed for everything from schizophrenia to anxiety and autism. But as many as a third of the 5.5 million Americans taking the medications experience weight gain to the tune of 7 percent or more of their body weight.

For some, the drugs increase appetite, leading people to eat far more than they previously did and pack on the pounds. In other cases, however, those taking the drugs don’t see any change in their eating habits yet they still gain weight, possibly because the pills bring metabolic changes.

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However, for individuals who benefit emotionally from atypical antipsychotics, weighing the pros with the possibility of weight gain is a tricky call, experts say. For some there are few alternatives, but psychiatrists say that when there are other options, patients often shy away from medication when they hear about the side effects, reports To read more click here.

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