The Link Between Antipsychotics and Diabetes in Children

Diabetes wordcloud

Prior research has already shown there to be a link between type II diabetes and antipsychotic medicine in adults, and, more recently, children.[1] Researchers report that children who take antipsychotics have three times the risk of developing type II diabetes, when compared to children taking other psychotropic medicines.1

Antipsychotics are infamously known for their weight gain side effects, and they are also able to resist insulin.1 However, Wayne Ray, M.D. of the Department of Preventative Medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, states that the study he and his colleagues conducted shows an association and not a cause-effect relationship.1 His advice: Since it is not uncommon for patients taking antipsychotics to gain a significant amount of weight in a relatively short period of time, more caution should be used when prescribing these medicines to youth.1 Consider all other options first, unless, of course, the diagnosis is schizophrenia, as antipsychotics are the only recommended pharmacological treatment for the disorder.1

However, antipsychotics are effective medicines for not only psychotic disorders, but also for youth with bipolar disorder, affective disorders, and symptoms associated with behavioral problems.1 As antipsychotics have tranquilizing effects, they are often prescribed to children with attention and conduct disorders, especially for those who show signs of aggression.1 As these mental conditions do have other pharmacological options, antipsychotics are often—and should be—a second choice.1

Ray and colleagues conducted a study that included 28,858 participants, ranging in age from six to 24.1 Results showed that there was a three-fold increase in the risk of type II diabetes in participants who were taking antipsychotics, particularly within the age range of six to 17.1 Ray stated that as type II diabetes takes a long time to develop, even short-term use of the drugs in children and youth may not be as safe as we think.1 With a higher dose of antipsychotics comes a higher risk, which extends itself up to one year after antipsychotic use is stopped.1

More research regarding whether the condition can be reversed is underway.1

[1] Landau, E. (2013, August 21). Antipsychotics linked to diabetes in kids. CNN.com. Retrieved September 27, 2013, from thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2013/08/21/antipsychotics-linked-to-diabetes-in-kids/


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    January 4, 2014, 5:32 pm

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