Antipsychotics and the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus in children and youth

William V. Bobo, William O. Cooper, C. Michael Stein, Mark Olfson, David Graham, James Daugherty, D. Catherine Fuchs, Wayne A. Ray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

155 Scopus citations


IMPORTANCE: The increased prescribing of antipsychotics for children and youth has heightened concerns that this practice increases the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus. OBJECTIVE: To compare the risk of type 2 diabetes in children and youth 6 to 24 years of age for recent initiators of antipsychotic drugs vs propensity score-matched controls who had recently initiated another psychotropic medication. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Retrospective cohort study of the Tennessee Medicaid program with 28 858 recent initiators of antipsychotic drugs and 14 429 matched controls. The cohort excluded patients who previously received a diagnosis of diabetes, schizophrenia, or some other condition for which antipsychotics are the only generally recognized therapy. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Newly diagnosed diabetes during follow-up, as identified from diagnoses and diabetes medication prescriptions. RESULTS: Users of antipsychotics had a 3-fold increased risk for type 2 diabetes (HR = 3.03 [95%CI = 1.73-5.32]), which was apparent within the first year of follow-up (HR = 2.49 [95% CI = 1.27-4.88]). The risk increased with cumulative dose during follow-up, with HRs of 2.13 (95%CI = 1.06-4.27), 3.42 (95%CI = 1.88-6.24), and 5.43 (95%CI = 2.34-12.61) for respective cumulative doses (gram equivalents of chlorpromazine) of more than 5 g, 5 to 99 g, and 100 g or more (P < .04). The risk remained elevated for up to 1 year following discontinuation of antipsychotic use (HR = 2.57 [95%CI = 1.34-4.91]). When the cohort was restricted to children 6 to 17 years of age, antipsychotic users had more than a 3-fold increased risk of type 2 diabetes (HR = 3.14 [95%CI = 1.50-6.56]), and the risk increased significantly with increasing cumulative dose (P < .03). The risk was increased for use restricted to atypical antipsychotics (HR = 2.89 [95%CI = 1.64-5.10]) or to risperidone (HR = 2.20 [95%CI = 1.14-4.26]). CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Children and youth prescribed antipsychotics had an increased risk of type 2 diabetes that increased with cumulative dose.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1067-1075
Number of pages9
JournalJAMA Psychiatry
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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