Weight and leptin changes among risperidone-treated youths with autism: 6-month prospective data

Am J Psychiatry. 2004 Jun;161(6):1125-7. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.161.6.1125.


Objective: The authors examined the developmental impact and temporal characteristics of risperidone-associated weight change.

Method: Weight change was measured for 63 children and adolescents with autism treated with risperidone for 6 months. Change in serum leptin levels after 2 months was examined as a predictor of final weight gain in mixed regression models that controlled for site, gender, age, and risperidone dose.

Results: Age- and gender-standardized weight increased after 6 months of treatment (gross: mean=5.6 kg [SD=3.9]; standardized: mean=0.6 z [SD=0.5]) and was positively correlated with weight gained after 1 month. Change in leptin levels after 2 months of treatment (mean=-0.3 ng/ml, SD=6.2) (N=48) did not predict final weight gain.

Conclusions: Chronic risperidone exposure in children with autism causes weight gain in excess of developmentally expected norms that follows a curvilinear trajectory and decelerates over time. Serum leptin change does not reliably predict risperidone-associated weight gain.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Antipsychotic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antipsychotic Agents / pharmacology
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Autistic Disorder / blood
  • Autistic Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight / drug effects*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leptin / blood*
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risperidone / adverse effects
  • Risperidone / pharmacology
  • Risperidone / therapeutic use*
  • Weight Gain / drug effects


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Leptin
  • Risperidone