Antipsychotics cause hyperglycemia in some older diabetics

September 1, 2009

An Archives of Internal Medicine study reported that older diabetes patients who started antipsychotic drug therapy had higher overall likelihoods of hyperglycemia.

OLDER DIABETIC PATIENTS WHO BEGIN antipsychotic drug therapy are at increased risk for hyperglycemia, according to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine that included 13,817 patients aged 66 or older with preexisting diabetes. Patients were divided into those treated with insulin (14.4%), those taking oral hypoglycemic agents (45.5%), and those not taking any diabetes treatment (40.2%).

During follow-up, 11.0% of the patients were hospitalized for hyperglycemia. Of these, 24.1% were taking insulin, 13.1% were taking oral hypoglycemic agents, and 3.8% were not taking any diabetes medications.

Patients currently taking antipsychotic drugs had an overall higher likelihood of hyperglycemia when compared with those not taking the drugs in the preceding 180 days. The adjusted rate ratio was 1.40 among the insulin-treated group, 1.36 for those treated with oral hypoglycemic agents, and 2.43 for the group with no diabetes treatment.

Lipscombe LL, Lévesque L, Gruneir A, et al. Antipsychotic drugs and hyperglycemia in older patients with diabetes. Arch Intern Med. 2009;169(14):1282-1289