Anti-Psychotic Prescribing: Fat & Frigid

The Daily Telegraph reported on 12th September 2018, that The Bachelor host Osher Gunsberg “has opened up about life, love and mental illness” in his newly released auto-biography Back, After the Break. In particular, Osher discusses the side effects of the anti-psychotic medications he was prescribed, namely becoming fat and frigid. He said that the drugs helped dampen the negative thoughts, but any benefits came at a huge cost. He was gaining a kilo a week despite his best efforts at exercising, and as well there was a great strain on his marriage through lack of intimacy.

 

Unfortunately, these are all too common side effects of this class of medication which also includes an increased risk for type II diabetes mellitus, hyperlipemia, QTc interval prolongation (which can trigger sudden death!) as well as sexual side effects.

 

Initially, prescribed to people with schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, this class of drugs are now handed out “off label” use for treating anxiety and as a sleeping pill. Put simply, off label use means a doctor prescribes the medication for a condition that has not been proven effective or safe enough for the TGA (Therapeutics and Goods Administration) to approve its use in Australia.

 

There may well be valid reasons for prescribing in individual situations when people do not have psychotic issues, but surely, these medications should be a last resort. If prescribed these patients need to be closely monitored by their doctor. There are many non-drug solutions available.

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