Study Links Antipsychotic Drugs in Kids and Diabetes Risk

Study Links Antipsychotic Drugs in Kids and Diabetes RiskSeptember 9, 2014 — Children on anti-psychotic drugs, such as Risperdal (risperidone) or Abilify (aripiprazole), may be significantly more likely to develop type-2 diabetes.

About 0.72% of children on anti-psychotics developed diabetes, compared to just 0.27% of children who did not take anti-psychotics. These results were published by the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychology.

Conclusions were based on data from over 48,000 psychiatrically ill children in Denmark under 18 years old, including 7,250 who used anti-psychotic drugs, between January 1999 and June 2010.

Researchers found that type-2 diabetes was 60% more likely to occur in youths who took anti-psychotic drugs. Females were 4.4-times more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes and also more likely to have faster onset of symptoms. The risk was also increased for children who were diagnosed with psychiatric conditions at an older age.

Researchers also found that the type of psychiatric illness had no effect on the rate of diabetes, which means the illness itself probably does not cause diabetes.

This is not the first time anti-psychotic drugs have been linked to an increased risk of diabetes. In August 2013, a study published in JAMA Psychiatry found a three-fold increased risk of diabetes for children on anti-psychotic drugs. Higher cumulative doses were associated with higher rates of diabetes.

Type-2 diabetes is a chronic metabolic disease that can worsen unless treated aggressively. Many patients must adhere to a strict diet and active lifestyle and take medications or insulin injections. Unfortunately, some medical treatments have severe side effects. Over time, diabetes increases the risk of complications like neuropathy, glaucoma, heart disease, skin infections, kidney disease, high blood pressure, and more.

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