ADHD, Behavioral Drugs Raise Kids Diabetes Risk

Antipsychotics affect metabolism and insulin resistance

ADHD, Behavioral Drugs Raise Diabetes Risk

ADHD, Behavioral Drugs Raise Diabetes Risk

A study from Vanderbilt University in Tennessee says that kids given anti-psychotic drugs are at higher than normal risk for developing diabetes. Published online Wednesday in the JAMA Pyschiatry journal, Wayne A. Ray, PhD, professor of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University, says parents need to be cautious before medicating their children. In addition, the study says the disease can occur within the first year of taking such drugs.

“My advice would to be very cautious about starting an antipsychotic,” he said. “If the child has one of these indications for one of these other medications, that means looking very carefully at alternative medication—perhaps trying them first. Then, perhaps at the end of the day it may be necessary to use an antipsychotic, but you at least will have tried the safer options.”

This is the first study to confirm the onset in kids although adults are already known to be at risk from the drug Abilify and related medications. Weight gains of up to 30 pounds are linked with the drug and diabetes. “Weight gain certainly does increase the risk of type 2 diabetes,” Dr Ray told the media. “Antipsychotic users certainly gain weight, including children. Antipsychotics also affect metabolism in a way that may increase the risk for type 2 diabetes. For instance, they affect insulin resistance, which is another factor in type 2 diabetes.” The study looked at 28,858 children and youth prescribed the drugs and 14,429 who used other medications.

“We found the risk was increased in the first year of use,” he said. “That’s important because some might believe that a chronic disease like diabetes would only develop with long-term use."

The drugs are more widely used than perhaps thought, not just for schizophrenia but also for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and aggressive behavior problems, for which most prescriptions are now written.

Antipsychotics Incriminated in Study: • Abilify • Risperdal • Seroquel • Zyprexa

Medications not linked with diabetes onset: • Adderall • Ativan • Carbatrol • Depakote • Lamictal • Lithium • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (Zoloft, Prozac) • Valium • Xanax

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