Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Risk of Type 2 Diabetes Increased in Youth Taking Antipsychotics, Study Finds

Antipsychotic drug use has been associated with increased risk for onset of type 2 diabetes in adults, and according to a study in today’s JAMA Psychiatry, the risk may hold true in children as well. Researchers in the departments of Psychiatry and Preventive Medicine at Vanderbilt University conducted a one-year study that compared the probability of antipsychotic-mediated type 2 diabetes onset in 43,000 youth ranging from age 6 to 24. The subjects were divided into two groups: those receiving treatment with an antipsychotic and those who not receiving such a medication. After one year, subjects were evaluated for diabetes, and changes in medication dosages were observed.  

Results showed that those receiving antipsychotic therapy were three times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those not taking the medication. The risk increased with accumulative drug doses and remained elevated for one year after discontinuation of drug use.

Corresponding author Wayne Ray, Ph.D., noted in an interview with Psychiatric News that “these drugs are used very commonly in youth for indications other than psychosis. When considering antipsychotics outside of psychosis, such as ADHD and conduct disorders, it's important to consider alternative options…and if you must prescribe antipsychotics, aim for the lowest dosage.” Ray also suggested that it may be beneficial to monitor metabolic changes that may induce the risk of diabetes in youth receiving prolonged antipsychotic therapy.

For more information on issues related to antipsychotic drug use in young patients, see the Psychiatric News article “Increase in Off-Label Antipsychotic Use Seen in Canadian Youth.”

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