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Newer antipsychotics linked to kids' weight gain; all but one linked to metabolic changes

October 27, 2009 |  1:21 pm

Children and adolescents who started on any one of four psychiatric drugs known as "atypical antipsychotics" packed on a significant amount of weight, new research has found. And three of the four psychiatric medications under study came with metabolic side effects that will dramatically boost a child's likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease, according to a study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Assn.

Patients taking their first-ever course of drugs marketed as Abilify, Risperdal, Seroquel and Zyprexa experienced weight gains ranging from about 9.7 pounds for Abilify to 18.7 pounds for Zyprexa. (Seroquel users gained about 13.2 pounds and Risperdal users gained about 11.7 pounds over 12 weeks. A comparison group of children with a diagnosis of severe mental illness but who were not on the medications gained less than a half-pound in the course of the study.)

Young patients on Risperdal, Seroquel and Zyprexa all experienced a significant increase in their triglycerides, and those taking Zyprexa and Seroquel had a surge in their overall cholesterol readings. Those taking Abilify registered dramatic changes in body composition, but no metabolic changes that reached the level of statistical significance accepted by medical researchers.

Among the 205 patients who completed the study, it was rare for researchers to see metabolic syndrome or diabetes develop in the 12 weeks of treatment they observed. But they took note of two kinds of changes in subjects that were ominous: first, they noted significant changes in the children's fat mass and waist circumference measures--which predict the development of heart disease in the general population and metabolic syndrome in adults taking antipsychotic medicines; and second, they recorded significant changes in many of the children's triglycerides and in the ratios of triglycerides to HDL cholesterol--both considered a reliable predictor of insulin resistance to come.

The latest study is the largest to date focusing on young patients taking one of the new-generation antipsychotics for the first time. Its results were hailed as "timely and sobering" in an editorial accompanying the study's publication. It comes against a backdrop of rapidly expanding use of these drugs, and their growing use among children as young as 5. The Food and Drug Administration is currently considering whether it to accept the recommendation of a panel of outside experts and approve three of the four drugs for use by children diagnosed with schizophrenia and/or bipolar disorder.

JAMA's editorial suggests that such a step might be ill-advised.

"These results challenge the widespread use of atypical antipsychotic medications in youth," wrote University of Washington, Seattle, child psychiatrists Christopher K. Varley and Jon McClellan.

The commenting physicians warned that the change in children's cholesterol levels and insulin resistance readings observed after only 12 weeks of treatment "portends severe long-term metabolic and cardiovascular sequelae." While physicians expanded their use of the drugs because they were "widely touted as being more effective and safer" than older psychiatric drugs, that belief "should be reconsidered," Varley and McClellan wrote.

Several earlier studies of these antipsychotic medications have documented weight gain, changes in body composition and measures of metabolic function. But this study's findings are the most dramatic so far to come to light. The researchers suggested that earlier studies--many of them conducted under the sponsorship of drug makers--may have understated children's weight gain on the drugs by including many subjects who had taken earlier courses of antipsychotic medicine, and thus already had experienced drug-connected weight gain. For all the subjects followed in this study, this was the first time they had taken any drug classified as an antipsychotic medication. 

Scattered in academic medical centers across New York state, all the researchers were sponsored by grants from the National Institutes of Health.

-- Melissa Healy

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Comments (5)

it probably slows their metabolism down as it slows everything else quite a bit..

Eli Lilly sells a drug {ZYPREXA} that can cause diabetes and then turn a profit on the drugs that treat the condition that they may have caused in the first place!

Eli Lilly has made $38 billion on Zyprexa and it was way oversold and caused diabetes and in some cases sudden death.
Eli Lilly has received a huge criminal fine over their Zyprexa cash cow,add it all up comes to $4.6 billion, in Zyprexa settlements,fines,litigation.

Addictive Zyprexa was pushed by Lilly Drug Reps.
They called it the "Five at Five" (5 mg at 5 pm to keep nursing home patients subdued and sleepy) and "VIVA ZYPREXA" (Zyprexa for everybody) campaigns to off label market Eli Lilly Zyprexa as a fix for unapproved usage.

Eli Lilly is 'reaping the whirlwind' for aggressive marketing of Zyprexa that has caused suffering and deaths.
There must be millions out there harmed by this drug.

Did you know that Lilly made $ billions last year on diabetic meds, Actos,Humulin and Byetta?

Yes! They sell a drug that can cause diabetes and then turn a profit on the drugs that treat the condition that they may have caused in the first place!


Daniel Haszard

Is the medical field getting that much better at diagnosing mental illness in children or are the parents just having a knee-jerk reaction to putting their kids on drugs? I think the latter because surprisingly I have yet to see a kid in martial arts needing anti-psychotics or suffering from depression. Depression seems to be the new thing to label a kid and shun actual effort. Maybe the kid would not be so depressed if you both turned off the idiot box and spent some time with each other outside.

Kids these days are treated like crated dogs. They are forbidden the use of playing outside (despite the decade’s trend of decreased violence) and told to stay put for long periods of time. Recess is almost non-existent these days and if a kid acts out of line they want to label them a dysfunctional terrorist. Let them ride their skateboards and play and risk the slight chance of a bruised knee or broken tooth. It is a lot cheaper than years of needless medication and induced mental disorders.

I would like to know how these metabolic abnormalities translate into behaviors. We withdrew risperdal very slowly like 2 months, from my then 9 year old son. His cortisol levels are exactly opposite of normal they peak(like shoot up) at 4:00 p.m. with almost none in the morning and slightly elevated at midnight. His thyroid is compromised and his cholesterol is a whopping 277 mg/dl, LDL 191mg/dl and no his HDL is not high at 48mg/dl trigs 189 mg/dl. As a parent I knew the about the weight gain and believed the risk of 5 to 7 pounds vs. benefit was clear. What I did not know was the cholesterol and trig gain which was clearly a risk not worth the benefit because screwed up metabolism begets some stressed out behaviors. If doctors start this product they must at least manage the kids labs while on it and then determine the risk/benefit ratio. The clinicians are not managing this horrendous side effect profile. They are not even doing baseline cholesterols or follow up metabolic profiles. The drug companies need to add some language to their P.I.'s on how they must manage children put on these products and adults as far as that goes. Baseline labs, 3 months follow up and Bi-Annually thereafter evaluating risk benefit every step of the way.

I think the most dangerous food is meat as it destroys humanity and leads to wars and destroys all ultimately.

Obesity & Magic Pill :

I personally recognize that wheat is a far better diet than meat on the ground it normally exits body with ease and rapidity, and we are well aware that our heath depends upon smooth metabolism and blood stream associated with the immune system and how important our daily workout is, as well.

I still think the critical conditions mostly come from breach of our immune system, and the food that stays long in the body is more likely to become a source where germs, bacterias, viruses and the like multiply.
Sounds outlandish, but wheat might be a principal "clean and healthy" food that has led western society to the most decent culture of all.

Disadvantages of meat consumption :

1. The food that stays long in the body looks more likely to become a source where germs, bacterias and the like multiply, which even gives birth to critical conditions involving prostate cancer.

2. The consumption of meat proved lethal as earlier this year, the expansive, long-term release concluded about a third of more than 500,000 Americans aged 50-70 with this behavior tends to wind up with premature fatality caused by cancer, hypertension and more.

3. The in-take of pork raises risks of catching swine flue and its mutation, costing around the initially estimated $2trillion dollars word-wide and endangering recovery,

(( Genes included in the new swine flu have been circulating undetected in pigs for at least a decade, according to researchers who have sequenced the genomes of more than 50 samples of the virus. The findings suggest that in the future, pig populations will need to be monitored more closely for emerging influenza viruses, reported a team led by Rebecca Garten of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a report released by the journal Science.))

Still, media downplay this fact out of small thinking to protect meat industry.

4. All but media influenced by meat industry blame calorie for overweight or obesity rather than fat, I still think Fat equals Fat by definition and common sense.

5. Hot dogs are often associated with food-borne illness. Though other food items carry listeria , FDA (Food and Drug Administration) studies have shown a high level of the harmful bacteria on hot dogs, processed meat and ready-to-eat meat products. And consuming hot dogs and other processed meats increases the risk of cancer

The class-action consumer fraud lawsuit underway in New Jersey is based on a report from the American Institute for Cancer Research.

Its findings included this fact: Consuming one 50-gram serving of processed meat (about the amount in one hot dog) every day increases the risk of colorectal cancer, on average, by 21 percent.

Nitrites, used to keep hot dogs fresh, are the main culprit, according to the suit.

While nitrites are commonly found in many green vegetables, especially spinach, celery and green lettuce, the consumption of vegetables appears to be effective in reducing the risk of cancer. Because these vegetables also contain Vitamin C and D, which serve to inhibit the formation of carcinogenic compounds, they actually reduce your cancer risk.

6. Two thirds of Americans are overweight or obese, which branch into so many different kinds of diseases, excess body fat increases risk for numerous cancers, costing up to $147 billion a year.

7. America needs to put focus on a sustainable energy industry to become a lead exporter, in place of a fast food business where the overall loss outstrips gain more than known, from my stance.

Provided the average temperature is getting higher, accordingly all forms of germs, bacterias, viruses, and influenza etc are more likely to multiply.

Some skeptics say the warning against hazards of climate change is overstated, but judging from more frequent and widespread outbreaks of e. coli, salmonella, and bird, swine flu cases endangering human lives and economic recovery seriously, some prompt measures need to be taken, I guess.

Also, Breathing toxic chemicals in the outdoor air exposes all Americans to a lifetime cancer risk at least 10 times greater than the level considered acceptable under federal law, shows new data released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Thank You !


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