Results from a recent study published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal revealed an increased risk for diabetes development among subjects with a diagnosis of psychosis and under treatment with antipsychotic drugs — but without a family history of diabetes — heightening the importance of including family history when treating these individuals.
“Psychosis is associated with an increased risk of diabetes mellitus. A positive synergy between antipsychotic drug effects and a pre-existing liability to diabetes mellitus might explain the especially high relative risk of diabetes mellitus in young adults with psychosis,” Debra L. Foley, PhD, of the National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, Parkville, Victoria, Australia, and colleagues wrote, according to a recent news release.
In the study, entitled “Effect of age, family history of diabetes, and antipsychotic drug treatment on risk of diabetes in people with psychosis: a population-based cross-sectional study,” researchers assessed the individual and combined effect of age, family history of diabetes mellitus, and prescribed antipsychotic drugs on the risk for developing diabetes. The research team used data from the 2010 Australian National Survey of Psychosis — an observational study performed in five different Australian states. Data from 1,155 patients with psychosis, age 18 to 64 years, who were in contact with psychiatric services and tested for diabetes mellitus were included in the analysis.
The results revealed an association between treatment with antipsychotic drugs and diabetes among study participants who did not have a family history of diabetes, even after adjusting for age, which was found to be an independent risk factor. At the same time, the team found that treatment with antipsychotics was not associated with an additional risk for developing diabetes among study participants who had a family history of the condition.
“In this study, antipsychotic drug treatment was associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes only in those without a family history of diabetes. Age was an independent risk factor. Therefore, the risk of type 2 diabetes that until now has been attributed to antipsychotic drug effects alone is likely to be overestimated in those with a family history of diabetes and underestimated in those without a family history of diabetes,” wrote the research team. “The effects of some antipsychotic drugs on risk of diabetes might be missed entirely if family history is not taken into account.”