People living with psychotic illness experience high rates of physical ill-health and their life expectancy is reduced by up to 20 years. People living with psychosis need effective treatments to improve their physical health. Weight gain and diabetes are two of the main physical health problems which are neglected in this group. This study will test the effectiveness of an existing diabetes treatment in reducing weight and diabetes risk in people living with psychotic illness.
About the project
This study investigates whether semaglutide, a diabetes treatment, can reduce weight and risk for diabetes in people living with psychosis who are overweight or obese. It focuses particularly on individuals who are receiving the antipsychotic treatments clozapine or olanzapine, which cause weight gain and may increase risk for diabetes. It will also investigate whether people receiving semaglutide experience changes in their overall body composition, assessing the proportions of fat, muscle, bones and water by completing whole-body scans before and after the 24-week semaglutide treatment. This has never been tested before in this population.
If semaglutide is shown in the study to be effective in reducing weight and in preventing or delaying the onset of diabetes, it could be used regularly in future in people living with psychosis who are obese and at risk for developing diabetes. The results could also provide evidence to support its availability under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, which could make this preventative treatment more readily available to people living with psychosis across Australia, helping to improve their physical health and life expectancy.
- Commonwealth grant funding awarded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care
- The Serpentine Foundation
- Prince of Wales Health Foundation
- SPHERE Neuroscience, Mental Health and Addiction CAG
- Philanthropic donation (via UNSW School of Psychiatry)