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Research Cuts Weight Gain Side Effects From Mental Health Medication

Researchers at the University of South Australia are developing a coating for anti-depressant and anti-anxiety drugs that have traditionally led to weight gain.

The new coating mitigates weight gain and boosts serotonin levels, combatting a major side effect of the drugs. 

Dr Paul Joyce, Senior Research Fellow at the University of South Australia led the new research on drug capsules.

Lead Researcher Dr Paul Joyce explains what the new technology means for people who are subscribed the drugs on The Briefing:

Researchers at the University of South Australia tested Lurasidone, a drug used in the
treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar depression. The new coatings improved drug absorption by eight-fold, and overcame side effects such as weight gain.

The coatings are created from tiny core-shell particles made from the dietary fibre,
inulin, and bioactive medium chain triglycerides.

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Joyce said current antipsychotic medications trigger significant adverse effects by disrupting the gut microbiome, which plays a major role in regulating overall health and mood. This leads to a cascading cycle of poor mental and metabolic health, he said.

“The most notable side effect [of current medications] is weight gain, with many patients often seeing increases of between 10 to 15 per cent of their body weight after just three months of treatment,” Joyce said.

The reformulated medication could be fast-tracked for clinical use within the next few years.

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