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Anti-Psychotic Drugs can Increase Diabetes Risk in Children, Teens

Sep 03, 2014 10:12 AM EDT
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Children and adolescents exposed to anti-psychotic medications are at a higher risk of developing diabetes than others, a new study has found.

The study, conducted by researchers at the Aalborg University Hospital, Denmark, shows that teens undergoing treatment for psychiatric disorder might be at a high risk of suffering from chronic illnesses such as diabetes type-2. Modern lifestyle, unhealthy eating habits and poor physical activities are already to known to raise diabetes risk in children and teens.

The study was based on health records of 48,299 children and adolescents with psychiatric disorders. Data for the study came from nationwide Danish registers. The researchers found that the absolute risk of diabetes in young people with mental disorders was around 0.72 percent compared to 0.27 percent in other children and teens.

The study is published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

The research questions the use of anti-psychotic medications to treat other kinds of behavioral problems in teens.

"The use of antipsychotic drug treatment can be necessary for some of the psychiatric disorders diagnosed in children and adolescents. This study underscores the importance of following the current guidelines that antipsychotics should only be used in children and adolescents when other evidence-based and safer treatment options have been exhausted," said René Ernst Nielsen, Psychiatry, Aalborg University Hospital, Denmark, according to a news release.

The researchers say that conditions such as disruptive behavior disorders should be treated using non-pharmacologic management options. Also, patients undergoing psychiatric treatment must be tested for glucose and hemoglobin levels, especially if the patients are young and need  anti-psychotic medications.

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