Kids Who Take Antipsychotic, Antidepressant Meds Nearly 50 Percent More Likely to Develop Type 2 Diabetes

Children who are taking certain prescription antipsychotics to help with behavioral or mental health problems may develop a much higher risk for type 2 diabetes, according to a new large study.

Researchers from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's PolicyLab suggest that antipsychotics could raise type 2 diabetes risk by almost 50 percent. For kids also taking antidepressants, the risk could double, they said.

Lead author David Rubin, M.D., explained:

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.

Increase in prescription medication a cause for concern

Due to a lack of research on the safety and efficacy of these types of medications for children, more prescriptions are being written for kids who have conditions like bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or aggressive behavior.

Children being impacted the most may be those receiving care under Medicaid – the study found that over 25 percent of Medicaid-participating children with behavioral problems were prescribed antipsychotics in 2008.

While research has found an association between antipsychotic use and diabetes in adults, the consequences for children may be much more harmful.

"With such vast numbers of children being exposed to these medications, the implications for potential long-lasting harm can be jarring," Rubin said.

Given the findings, taking a more "case-by-case" approach when treating children with mental and behavioral health disorders could ensure that all alternatives to medication are explored, he concluded.

Source: Newswise

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