Women who take antipsychotic drugs whilst pregnant could be putting themselves at a greater risk of developing diabetes, according to findings in a new study.
Researchers uncovered that out of 360,000 pregnant women, approximately 4% of those taking antipsychotic drugs developed gestational diabetes, whereas only 1.7% of women who weren't prescribed antipsychotics developed the same condition.
Study lead author, Robert Bodén, said that it's important to understand all the possible adverse effects from medications.
"It's a very important and difficult area to study, because severe mental disorders - such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder - often require consistent medication, even if a woman is pregnant," Bodén added.
Writing in the Archives of General Psychiatry, Bodén and the study's co-authors confirmed that they expected to see a link between diabetes and antipsychotics, including olanzapine and clozapine, due to their links to weight gain, high cholesterol and increased insulin resistance.
The study used data compiled in Sweden from mid-2005 through to 2009, identifying 169 women taking olanzapine, clozapine or a combination of the two, as well as 338 taking other antipsychotic drugs during pregnancy.
Seven women on newer antipsychotic drugs and 15 on older drugs became diabetic during their pregnancy, with researchers stating that these statistics point towards women on the medications being twice as likely to develop the disease.
The study cannot, however, prove beyond doubt that the drugs caused disease onset, with the possibility of poor diet or lack of exercise also contributing towards the condition.