Weight gain is a common side effect of anti-psychotic medications. First-generation drugs as well as many popular second-generation can lead to considerable weight gain, often thrusting people of normal weight into obesity in less than a year. Recently, a body of research has thrust our gut microbes into the spotlight along with obesity: in particular, obese people have been reported to be more likely to harbor more firmicutes than their lean compatriots. However, although the microbiota composition has repreatedly been found to be different between obese and lean subjects, it is not always the Firmicutes/Baceroidetes balance that is different.
Researchers at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana in the United States connected the dots with this question: is there a link between antipsychotic drug targets and the microbiota?
An investigation on their part found “strong associations between protein targets of antipsychotics and microbiota sequences directly related to weight regulation in human body.”
This type of thinking opens up a whole new avenue into research on obesity brought on by medications. The weight gain associated with antipsychotic drugs often leads patients into other obesity-related disorders, including diabetes. Although cause and effect are still uncertain, it is definitely worth more study.