Antipsychotic Drugs May Triple Children's Diabetes RiskAug 22, 2013
Antipsychotic medications such as Seroquel, Abilify and Risperdal can triple a child's risk of developing Type 2 diabetes within the first year of use, suggests a new study.
Antipsychotic medications, traditionally used to treat schizophrenia, are now increasingly prescribed for bipolar disorder, ADHD, and mood disorders such as depression, Reuters Health reports. But children using these medications are much more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than those using medications typically prescribed for these other psychiatric conditions, said Wayne Ray, author of a study just published in JAMA Psychiatry.
Ray, director of the division of pharmacoepidemiology at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, in Nashville, Tennessee, said children who received antipsychotic medications were three times as likely to develop Type 2 diabetes, according to Reuters Health. "It's well known that antipsychotics cause diabetes in adults, but until now the question hadn't been fully investigated in children."
The researchers reviewed the records of nearly 29,000 kids aged 6 to 24 in the Tennessee Medicaid program who had recently started taking antipsychotic drugs for reasons other than schizophrenia or related psychoses. They compared those kids to more than 14,000 matched control patients taking other types of psychiatric medications, including lithium; antidepressants; psychostimulants such as Adderall and Ritalin; ADHD medications such as clonidine and guanfacine; and anti-anxiety drugs known as benzodiazepines. Diabetes risk continued to rise with cumulative antipsychotic dose, and remained high for as long as a year after kids were taken off their antipsychotics.
Dr. Ken Duckworth, medical director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, said these findings should lead doctors and parents to question the off-label use of antipsychotic drugs for conditions other than schizophrenia and psychosis, according to Reuters Health. Ray agreed that doctors should consider all other alternative treatments before resorting to antipsychotics.
If children must be placed on antipsychotics, doctors and parents need to carefully monitor for early signs of diabetes, including weight gain and glucose intolerance, Ray said.