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Danish researchers have revealed that teenagers on antipsychotic medication face a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Antipsychotics are medications which can help with treating mental distress or mental disorders such as bipolar disorder (manic depression), schizophrenia, anxiety disorders or severe depression.

Doctors may also prescribe antipsychotics to reduce symptoms of depression and irritability in disorders such as autism, Tourette’s syndrome and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

The study examined nearly 50,000 children (48,299 participants) with psychiatric disorders. 7,253 of the children had taken antipsychotics whereas the other 41,046 had not. In the children treated with antipsychotics, around 1 in 140 children (0.72%) developed type 2 diabetes.

This was significantly greater than the number of children that did not take antipsychotics which was 1 in 370 (0.27%) that developed type 2. Using statistical analysis, use of antipsychotic medication was associated with a 60% increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The researchers from Aalborg University note that it is important that antipsychotic medication is prescribed with caution and only used when safer treatments have been unsuccessful. The study also highlights the need for monitoring of fasting glucose and A1c when antipsychotics are prescribed.