Large Study Confirms Elevated Risk of Diabetes When Prescribed Antipsychotics

A large longitudinal cohort study out of Denmark, recently published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, corroborates previous evidence that antipsychotics increase the risk of developing diabetes in people diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Numerous medications have been associated with elevated risk of diabetes. Antidepressants, for example, are understood to reduce pancreatic insulin secretion, which is believed to increase the risk of developing diabetes. This elevated risk has also been demonstrated in children and youth exposed to antipsychotics.

The authors of the present study point out that the prevalence of diabetes mellitus is 4-5 times higher in people diagnosed with schizophrenia. Similar to the theory surrounding antidepressants, it is believed that impaired glucose tolerance and increased insulin resistance can explain some of the elevated rates of diabetes within individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia who are prescribed antipsychotics. Moreover, abnormal glucose tolerance has been shown to be more prevalent among individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia than those without.