Antipsychotic drugs apparently increase the risk of children developing diabetes by 50%, according to the largest study ever of its kind published in JAMA Pediatrics. If children were also being given antidepressants, their risk for developing diabetes doubled.
Researchers from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia used national Medicaid data between 2003 and 2007 on 1.3 million youth aged 10 to 18 who had a mental health diagnosis of some kind. They found that 25 percent of those children were being prescribed antipsychotics, apparently often more for behavioral issues rather than severe psychiatric disorders, while one in three of those children were also receiving antidepressants.
“The results suggest that initiating antipsychotics may elevate a child’s risk not only for significant weight gain, but also for Type II diabetes by nearly 50 percent,” stated a press release about the study. “Moreover, among children who are also receiving antidepressants, the risk may double.”
“With such vast numbers of children being exposed to these medications, the implications for potential long-lasting harm can be jarring,” said the study’s lead author in a press release. However, the researchers also advised “caution” in interpreting the findings, because “the baseline risk for diabetes among youth who were not exposed to antipsychotics in the study was only 1 in 400, rising to 1 in 260 among those initiating antipsychotics, and at most to 1 in 200 among those who initiated antipsychotics while they were simultaneously receiving antidepressants.”
Rubin DM, Kreider AR, Matone M, et al. Risk for Incident Diabetes Mellitus Following Initiation of Second-Generation Antipsychotics Among Medicaid-Enrolled Youths. JAMA Pediatr. 2015;169(4):e150285. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2015.0285. (Abstract)
New Medicaid Data Show Antipsychotic Use May Increase the Risk for Diabetes in Some Children (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia press release on Newswise, April 6, 2015)