The study, which was compiled by doctors at several hospitals in New York, USA and was published in the journal of the American Medical Association, found that one of the post popular drugs causes children to put on 20 pounds in weight over three months.
Researchers have said that doctors should be positive that the benefits of the drugs will definitely outweigh this side effects when prescribing them to children.
Antipsychotic medications are there to treat very serious mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. It is rare for them to be prescribed to children unless they do develop these serious illnesses. However it is becoming increasingly normal for them to also be prescribed for behavioural issues such as ADHD or for those children who are challenging or aggressive.
The study, which explored the use of these kinds of drugs in children, looked at 332 children under the age of 18, who took one of four antipsychotic drugs for 12 weeks. The weight, blood sugar and cholesterol levels of the participants were monitored over this period and were later compared to another group of children who’d been considered for the medication but didn’t take the drugs or stopped taking them within 4 weeks.
The children taking the drugs gained fat, got larger around the waist and were more likely to become overweight or obese during the study. Certain drugs also caused a rise in cholesterol levels and increased levels in a certain group of fats.
The authors of the study have warned doctors should prescribe these drugs with caution and should help the patient to weigh up the risks and benefits of these medications.