Nathan Seppa reports for US News & World Report:
Many young children and adolescents taking drugs for severe psychiatric problems gain substantial weight and, in some cases, show increased levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides in their blood, researchers report in the Oct. 28 Journal of the American Medical Association.
Although the data from this study need to be replicated over a longer time frame, the findings nonetheless raise worrisome questions about anti-psychotic drugs that often benefit children who have schizophrenia, autism, tics, severe bipolar disorder or aggressive behavior.
“We are between a rock and a hard place here,” says study coauthor Christoph Correll, a psychiatrist at the Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, N.Y. These mental disorders are severe and can lead to suicide or to educational problems and emotional scars, he says. On the other hand, weight gain during youth predisposes an individual to chronic health problems later in life, he says.
Weight gain has been noticed before in children and adolescents taking commonly prescribed drugs for severe psychiatric problems. But studies seeking to link that weight gain to the medications were often muddied because patients had taken one of the drugs beforehand at some point — and may have already put on weight from it or reset their body metabolism to adjust to the drug somehow…