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Comment & Response
February 2014

Diabetes Risk Potentially Underestimated in Youth and Children Receiving Antipsychotics

Katherine Samaras, PhD, FRACP1,2; Christoph U. Correll, MD3; Alex J. Mitchell, MBBS, BMedSci, MSc, MD, MCPsych4; et al Marc De Hert, MD, PhD5; for the HeAL Collaborators (Healthy Active Lives for people with severe mental illness)
Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Endocrinology, St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • 2Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • 3Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York
  • 4Department of Cancer and Molecular Medicine, University of Leicester, Leicester, England
  • 5University Psychiatric Center, Catholic University Leuven, Kortenberg, Belgium
JAMA Psychiatry. 2014;71(2):209-210. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2013.4030

To the Editor Analyzing a Medicaid database, Bobo et al1 found an alarming 3-fold increased risk of diabetes in children and youth receiving antipsychotics, compared with those receiving other psychotropic medications. Increased risk was evident within the first treatment year, increased further with cumulative dose, and remained elevated 1 year after antipsychotic discontinuation. The disturbing findings of this landmark study provide strong evidence for an increasing burden of metabolic disease risk for young people treated with antipsychotics, because the impact of early-in-life diabetes on health and life expectancy concerns all. A further sobering issue is that in this study, as in clinical practice,2 patients received antipsychotics for conditions where antipsychotics are either not the sole treatment option or where efficacy is unproven.

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