September 9, 2014 — A recent study has found a higher risk of type-2 diabetes in children taking antipsychotic medications, such as Risperdal (risperidone) or Abilify (aripiprazole).
After evaluating data on over 48,000 children in Denmark who were diagnosed with a psychiatric illness, researchers found that diabetes was diagnosed in 0.72% of children on anti-psychotics, compared to just 0.27% of children who did not take the medications.
Data was collected between January 1999 and June 2010. Results were published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychology.
The highest risk was seen in females who were diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder at an older age. Overall, children on anti-psychotics were 60% more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes. Females were 4.4-times more likely.
The type of psychiatric illness did not affect the risk of diabetes, which rules out the possibility that the illness itself causes the disease.
Evidence linking anti-psychotics and diabetes has been growing for years. In August 2013, JAMA Psychiatry published a study that found a three-fold increased risk of diabetes among children on anti-psychotics. Higher rates of diabetes were associated with higher cumulative doses of the medications. Click here to read more.
Unfortunately, children who are diagnosed with diabetes face a lifetime of medical care. The condition causes chronic metabolic problems that can grow progressively worse without aggressive treatments, medications like insulin, and adherence to a strict diet and lifestyle regimen. Long-term complications of diabetes include neuropathy (nerve damage), eye disorders, kidney disease, heart attacks, high blood pressure, skin infections, and more.