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Antipsychotic drugs linked to insulin resistance in children

ys. The drugs, which balance certain chemicals in the brain and stabilize mood, have successfully treated countless numbers of children since being introduced in the 1990s, he notes.

"Treatments are always a matter of risk and benefit balance. Clearly these drugs are an important treatment option. But diabetes and heart disease are serious health issues, so it's important to further investigate this apparent relationship between atypical antipsychotics and insulin production and consumption," he adds. "We may need to reexamine how we are prescribing these drugs to see if dosage changes can be made to ensure children will continue to receive the benefits of these medications while not putting them at risk for developing other health problems in the future."

If the study's findings are confirmed by larger follow-up studies, Riddle says he would expect monitoring of metabolic side effects to become standard practice among clinicians prescribing atypical antipsychotics to children.

Insulin resistance occurs when muscle, fat, and liver cells do not properly use insulin, the hormone produced by the pancreas that helps cells absorb glucose and provides a source of energy to the body. The pancreas tries to keep up with the demand for insulin by producing more. Eventually, the pancreas cannot keep up with the body's need for insulin, and excess glucose builds up in the bloodstream. Excess weight, lack of exercise, and a family history of diabetes all contribute to insulin resistance. The condition is associated with an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

Study co-authors were David Cooke, M.D., and Helen Courvoisie, M.D., from the Johns Hopkins Children's Center.


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Contact: Jessica Collins
jcolli31@jhmi.edu
410-516-4570
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
20-Oct-2004


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