The news source reported that metabolic syndrome is a bundle of conditions, including high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes, that can eventually lead to serious cardiovascular disease.
Research has shown, according to the news source, that a simple waist-circumference test is a good indicator of metabolic syndrome in children who are on the drugs, commonly known as second-generation antipsychotics.
In the British Columbia-based study, which was published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 19 percent of kids on such drugs had metabolic syndrome.
"Patients and their parents are pretty distressed about the weight gain and other side-effects of second-generation antipsychotic drugs," Dr. Dina Panagiotopoulos, an endocrinologist who was a co-author of the study, told the news source. "They often say they wished they knew about the side effects before so they could do more about curbing carbohydrate cravings, about not drinking sugary drinks, and limiting time in front of [computer and television] screens."
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"You can be a lot more successful in avoiding these problems if you tackle it pre-emptively...and not after you've already gained 50 pounds," said Panagiotopoulos.
Second-generation antipsychotics like Seroquel and Risperdal are being used by children for problems like autism, psychosis, aggression and bipolar disease.
According to the National Library of Medicine, Risperdal is used to treat individuals with irritability associated with autistic disorder, and may cause children to gain more weight than expected, and for boys and male adolescents to have an increase in the size of their breasts.