Publication Details

Deng, C., Lian, J., Pai, N. Brahmavar. & Huang, X. (2012). Reducing olanzapine-induced weight gain side-effect by using betahistine: a study in the rat model. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 26 (9), 1271-1279.


Olanzapine is effective at treating multiple domains of schizophrenia symptoms. However, it induces serious metabolic side effects. Antipsychotic drug’s antagonistic affinity to histamine H1 receptors has been identified as a main contributor for weight gain/obesity side effects. This study therefore investigated whether a combined treatment of betahistine (a H1 receptor agonist and H3 receptor antagonist) could reduce the body weight/obesity induced by olanzapine. Female Sprague Dawley rats were treated orally with olanzapine (1 mg/kg, t.i.d.) and/or betahistine (2.67 mg/kg, t.i.d.), or vehicle for two weeks. Rats treated with olanzapine exhibited significant body weight gain and increased food intake. Co-treatment of olanzapine with betahistine significantly prevented (-45%) weight gain and reduced feeding efficiency compared to sole olanzapine treatment. Betahistine treatment alone had no effect on weight gain and food intake. Olanzapine reduced locomotor activity, but not betahistine. These findings demonstrate that olanzapine-induced body weight gain can partially be reduced by co-treatment with betahistine. Betahistine has H3 receptor antagonistic effects to increase histamine release, which may augment its direct agonistic effects on H1 receptors. These findings have important implications for clinical trials using betahistine to control antipsychotic-induced obesity side effects.

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