Antipsychotic Drugs Can Cause Gestational Diabetes

A new article out of Sweden is calling into question the use of certain antipsychotic drugs—typically used to treat disorders like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder—during pregnancy, suggesting that they might in fact cause gestational diabetes in some cases. The scientists responsible for the study based their conclusions on the records of almost 360,000 Swedish women who gave birth between July 2005 and December 2009.

Among their findings was evidence that the drugs olanzapine and clozapine can raise the risk of gestational diabetes to 4.1 percent. Other antipsychotics cause that number to rise to 4.4 percent. This is more than double the rate in the general population (roughly 1.7 percent). In addition, the newborns tended to be small for their gestational age (SGA) if the mother was taking an antipsychotic, though this size difference was in most cases insignificant.

Other hypotheses were made regarding large for gestational age (LGA) newborns, and although larger head circumference does increase the risk of an LGA baby, birth weight and birth length do not.

The final suggestion of the research team: keep a close eye on any pregnant women currently taking clozapine or any other antipsychotic drug. It is important to detect gestational diabetes early, and the baby's health can be monitored and supported, if need be, if a mother elects to keep taking her medications.

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