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Antipsychotic Drugs Spur Dramatic Weight Gain in Kids
Date:10/27/2009

Researchers urge other alternatives, close monitoring of patients,,,,

TUESDAY, Oct. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Children and teens who take medicines for conditions such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and autism tend to put on a substantial amount of weight, a new study finds.

The worry is that excessive weight gain and other metabolic changes in childhood can place kids at risk for chronic health problems as adults. Some of these medicines, collectively known as "atypical antipsychotics," have been linked to increased blood-fat levels.

"We are very much afraid that this will lead to diabetes and metabolic syndrome," said study author Dr. Christoph Correll, medical director of the Recognition and Prevention program at the Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, N.Y.

The study, reported in the Oct. 28 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, is the largest analysis of its kind, Correll said.

Jeanette M. Jerrell, a professor of neuropsychiatry at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine in Columbia, is the co-author of a similar study published last year in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

"We found that obesity/weight gain, type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular conditions were more prevalent in the treated cohort," she noted.

Her study also found that kids taking multiple antipsychotics were at significantly higher risk for obesity/weight gain, type 2 diabetes, abnormal blood-fat levels and cardiovascular problems.

"This new study is important because it draws further attention to the safety profile of antipsychotics in young populations, and the critical need for expanding the evidence base to guide clinical decisions," she said.

Concerns about the safety of atypical antipsychotics are not new. In 2003, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ordered manufacturers of these drugs to add a warning about
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