The study, conducted by the researchers at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, in Nashville, Tenn., found that commonly used brands like Seroquel, Abilify, Zyprexa and Risperdal tripled a child’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes within the first year of usage as compared to those who took other medications available to treat the same disorder.
“We found that children who received antipsychotic medications were three times as likely to develop type 2 diabetes,” corresponding author Wayne Ray, director of the division of pharmacoepidemiology at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, in Nashville, Tenn. said. “It’s well known that antipsychotics cause diabetes in adults, but until now the question hadn’t been fully investigated in children.”
For the purpose of the study, researcher followed 29,000 people between ages 6 and 24 enrolled in Tennessee’s Medicaid program. The participants were taking antipsychotic drugs for psychiatric conditions other than schizophrenia or related psychoses.
A group of over 14,000 matched patients formed the control group. These patients were taking other psychiatric medications like mood stabilizers such as lithium; antidepressants; psychostimulants such as Adderall and Ritalin; ADHD drugs like clonidine and guanfacine; and benzodiazepines, the anti-anxiety drugs.
The researchers compared the number of type 2 diabetes cases diagnosed among children and teens of both groups.
The use of antipsychotic drugs for a year was linked to a threefold increase the risk for type 2 diabetes compared to control patients who used other psychiatric medications.
Furthermore, the risk was directly associated with the antipsychotic dose and continued to rise with the rise of dosage. The risk remained high for over a year after kids were taken off their antipsychotics, researchers highlighted.
“Diabetes can develop relatively soon after beginning these drugs,” Ray said. “We found that the risk was increased within the first year of use, and this is consistent with case reports. The risk may need to be considered even for relatively short periods of use.”
Although the researchers were unable to prove that the drugs lead to the onset of diabetes, but the findings add to evidence that links antipsychotics to development of obesity, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
The findings of the study are reported in the current issue of JAMA Psychiatry.