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February 1964

Weight Change During and After Hospital Treatment

Author Affiliations

Coordinator (Dr. Gordon) and Research Social Worker (Mr. Groth), Psychiatric Evaluation Project Unit, Veterans Administration Hospital.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1964;10(2):187-191. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1964.01720200083012

Introduction  Several studies in recent years1-6 have demonstrated that many hospitalized psychotic patients taking phenothiazine drugs gain weight rather rapidly; this results in there being a high percentage of overweight patients in mental hospitals. Planansky1 concludes that "it is clear that the introduction of tranquilizing treatment on a mass scale has brought an entirely new problem into the wards of mental hospitals—obesity on a mass scale." Investigations of the VA Cooperative Studies in Psychiatry have clearly demonstrated consistent weight gain by hospitalized patients taking various phenothiazine drugs.2,3,4 The most widely used phenothiazine in mental hospitals, chloropromazine, caused the largest weight gains; individual gains with this drug averaged about seven or eight pounds in the first three months for groups of hospitalized psychotic patients.3My colleagues and I5 have found that functionally psychotic patients taking phenothiazines at

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