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Antipsychotic drugs and the risk of hyperglycemia in older adults without diabetes: a population-based observational study


Objective — To determine whether current antipsychotic use among older persons without diabetes is associated with a higher risk of hospital visits for hyperglycemia, as previous studies in this population have yielded conflicting results.

Design, Setting and Participants — A nested case-control study within a population-based cohort of persons aged 66 years or older without diabetes, who initiated antipsychotic therapy between April 1, 2002, and March 31, 2006. Cohort members were identified using health databases from Ontario, Canada, and were followed from treatment start until March 31, 2007.

Measurements — Cases were patients with a hospital visit (emergency department visit or hospital admission) for hyperglycemia. We matched each case with up to 10 controls. We compared the risk of hyperglycemia among current antipsychotic users to that of remote users (discontinued > 180 days).

Results — The cohort consisted of 44,121 subjects, mean age of 78.3 years, followed for a mean of 2.2 years. Compared to remote antipsychotic use, current treatment with any antipsychotic was associated with a significantly increased risk of hospital visits for hyperglycemia (adjusted odds ratio [aOR]: 1.52; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.07-2.17). The risk was elevated for both atypical (aOR: 1.44; 95% CI: 1.01-2.07) and typical (aOR: 2.86; 95% CI: 1.46-5.59) antipsychotic agents.

Conclusions — Current use of either atypical or typical antipsychotic agents was associated with a significantly increased risk of hospital visits for hyperglycemia among older persons without diabetes. These findings highlight the need for close glucose monitoring during antipsychotic therapy in older populations.



Lipscombe LL, Levesque LE, Gruneir A, Fischer HD, Juurlink DN, Gill SS, Herrmann N, Hux JE, Anderson GM, Rochon PA. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2011; 19(12):1026-33.