Antipsychotics increase risk of diabetes in youth

August 27, 2013

Children and young adults who take antipsychotics are at 3 times greater risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus than young people who don’t, according to a recent study.

 

Children and young adults who take antipsychotics are at 3 times greater risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus than young people who don’t, according to a recent study.

Researchers from Vanderbilt University found that users of antipsychotics had a hazard ratio (HR) for type 2 diabetes of 3.03.

Although experts have known that an association between antipsychotics and type 2 diabetes exists among adults, this is the first research to suggest that younger people are also at increased risk for the disease.

The investigators conducted a retrospective cohort study of almost 29,000 young people aged 6 to 24 years who recently began taking an antipsychotic and who were a part of the Tennessee Medicaid program between 1996 and 2007 and compared them with over 14,000 controls who recently began taking another psychotropic agent.

The researchers found that the increased risk for type 2 diabetes became apparent during the first year of taking the antipsychotics, increased with cumulative dose, and remained elevated for up to 1 year after cessation of the drugs.

When the researchers restricted the age of the population to 6 to 17 years, the risk was even higher (HR=3.14) and again increased with cumulative dose. Risk was also increased when the researchers restricted use to atypical antipsychotics (HR=2.89) and to risperidone (HR=2.20).

According to the REACH (Resource for Advancing Children’s Health) Institute, although antipsychotics are most commonly prescribed in adults to treat psychotic symptoms associated with schizophrenia and dementia, in children they are seldom prescribed for psychotic symptoms. They are more often prescribed to treat symptoms of aggression and agitation associated with autism, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, and bipolar disorder. 


 

 

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