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Study Finds Antipsychotics Triple Diabetes Risk


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A new study suggests that medications often prescribed to individuals with developmental disabilities are associated with a significantly heightened risk for diabetes.

Researchers found that young people taking atypical antipsychotics like Risperdal, Seroquel, Abilify and Zyprexa were three times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes within the first year of using the drugs as compared to those taking other psychiatric medications.

The finding, published this month in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, is based on a review of medical records from 1996 through 2007 for individuals ages 6 to 24 enrolled in Tennessee’s Medicaid program. Nearly 29,000 of those studied were prescribed antipsychotics while the remaining 14,400 were taking other types of psychiatric drugs.

Beyond the threefold increase observed in the first year of taking antipsychotics, the study found that the risk for diabetes increased with cumulative dosages and persisted for at least a year after stopping the medications.

Doctors should carefully consider alternatives to antipsychotic medications and ensure that they are keeping tabs on kids who do take the drugs, said Wayne Ray, a professor of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University and senior author of the study.

“Children should be monitored carefully for metabolic effects predisposing them to diabetes, and use of the drug should be at the lowest possible dose for the shortest possible time,” he said.

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Comments (5 Responses)

  1. A dad says:

    Drugs recommended by the FDA cause damage. Does anyone else see the irony here compared to the hyperbaric oxygen article a few days ago?

    I’d choose hyperbaric oxygen treatment over these drugs any day of the week.

  2. A mom says:

    Doesn’t surprise me one bit. My son was put on the lowest dose Abilify available. In 6 months time he gained 36 lbs. I insisted upon having his cholesterol & HGA1C checked after multiple times of telling our dr that we hadn’t changed anything about our lifestyle other than that med. He wasn’t YET a diabetic risk, but his lipids were through the roof!!!! 6 weeks after discontinuing abilfy he had returned to normal range. We are struggling to kick the last couple pounds, but what if I hadn’t been so aggressive with his dr? What if i had no medical background? Your average person wouldn’t have known to ask for specific labwork.

  3. vmgillen says:

    As I make may way through Grad school, I these studies remarkable! In this case, initial response is No Duh!… followed by wondering when we will see a metadata, comparing, say, incidence rates among individuals living in institutional, or at any rate Agency-supported settings – usually adults (more likely population for Type II), and often essentially sedentary (rare is the DC willing to bike, swim, or walk faster than an amble). Generally, the whole point of the anti-psychs it to s l o w people down. It’s not just the drugs – it’s the whole package tour. The drugs change metabolism, and lifestyle.

  4. mary ashland says:

    This is why my children don’t see a psychiatrist for their meds. They see a neurologist who has many years of experience working with Autism. Most psychiatrist do not look at metabolic issues and do not do very much blood work. Also, very often they are not experienced with prescribing drugs to help keep the risks of seizures down. This is very important for individuals who have seizures. The first thing my neurologist did was take my son off of Risperdal because of weight gain. On the other hand the psychiatrist who does have a lot of experience working with individuals with Autism insisted that it was the only drug to help with his self-injurious behavior even though it increased on this drug. I have another son who has just started taking a very low does of Risperdal and is doing very well on it so far. Both of my children are very active even though they are on this drug. My younger son realizes that exercise actually helps him to feel better. There is no excuse for any dr. not following up and making sure that the proper blood work is done in order to monitor the side effects of these drugs.

  5. Peggy says:

    We all know or should know by researching and asking questions that overall almost all of the antipsychotics cause rapid weigh gain for 9 out of 10 persons. There are very few that escape and some causing more gain and or more rapidly than others. In my experience with 2 children with bipolar disorder one having ad/hd along with it and the other oppositional defiant disorder whom both have taken at one point all of the medications being talked about. 1 child gained over 20 lbs in a matter of a few weeks on Risperdal and was starving constantly so a portion was gained due to a change in eating habits and some of it not. She also swelled up like a balloon as one does taking high doses of prednisone. She was only in 1st grade. She never lost all the weight after that but her appetite did return to normal almost overnight after taking her off. The other child was on Risperdal along with Concerta for over 7 years and battles trying to gain a pound at all! We were hoping for a few extra pounds but no such luck! Most anti depressants also cause weight gain and sluggishness. I have been lucky enough to have Drs. who carefully monitored both children and I do my research and ask for extra testing. They now have switched him to Vyvance and Abilify. She continues to be un medicated as nothing they tried her on worked at all and often exacerbated her symptoms. We don’t even approach the area of medication anymore as she is smack down in hormonal changes and who wants to add to that!…
    Yes wish there were more medications available without side effects that’s for sure.

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