Behavioral Drugs May Triple Kids' Risk of Diabetes

Anti-psychotics cause weight gain, increased insulin resistance: study

By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 22, 2013 8:58 AM CDT

(Newser) – Anti-psychotic drugs, used to treat behavioral disorders in children, may actually be tripling their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Those who took Abilify, Risperdal, Seroquel, and Zyprexa were three times more at risk than those who took other drugs for the same issues, USA Today reports, via a 12-year study in JAMA Psychiatry. Scarier still: The risk jumps within the first year of taking the drugs and continues up to a year after use, proving it's not just long-term use that's a problem, researchers say.

Though only 106 children and youth were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes of the 29,000 in the drug group and 14,400 in the control group, the heightened risk is still a big deal, the Business Standard reports. What's behind it? Weight gain (an added 20 to 30 pounds), changes in metabolism, and increased insulin resistance—all side effects of anti-psychotics, the most common prescription for mood, attention, and behavioral disorders in children. "My advice would be to be very cautious about starting an anti-psychotic," the study lead says, adding if an alternative is available, use it.

Seroquel tablets.
Seroquel tablets.   (AP Photo/AstraZeneca)
Shirley White, whose son died in his sleep Feb. 12, 2008, while taking a powerful antipsychotic prescribed as a sleep aid, holds the psychiatric drug Seroquel.
Shirley White, whose son died in his sleep Feb. 12, 2008, while taking a powerful antipsychotic prescribed as a sleep aid, holds the psychiatric drug Seroquel.   (AP Photo/Jeff Gentner)
Bottles filled with the anti-psychotic drug Zyprexa sit on the packaging line at the Eli Lilly & Co.
Bottles filled with the anti-psychotic drug Zyprexa sit on the packaging line at the Eli Lilly & Co.   (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, file)
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