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Antipsychotic medications often carry a high risk for the development of new onset diabetes, but a recent study has shown that taking vitamin D could lower this risk for those who take these drugs. Zyprexa, Seroquel, and other atypical antipsychotics are generally prescribed for disorders which are severe, including bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, schizophrenia, and even autism. Kyoto University researchers have determined that vitamin D could help people with these disorders who must take these drugs minimize their risk of new onset diabetes. According to Takuya Nagashima, the lead author of the study, “Interestingly, vitamin D on its own doesn’t lower diabetes risk, but it certainly defends against the insulin-lowering effects of quetiapine. We clarified the molecular mechanisms of how quetiapine causes hyperglycaemia using datasets in a genomics data repository. Through this we found that quetiapine reduces the amount of a key enzyme called PI3K that gets produced. Vitamin D stops quetiapine from lowering PI3K production.”

Shuji Kaneko was the lead researcher on the study about antipsychotic medications, diabetes, and vitamin E. According to Kaneko “We found that patients who had coincidentally been prescribed vitamin D with quetiapine were less likely to have hyperglycaemia. It’s unusual for vitamin D to be prescribed with quetiapine because it is typically prescribed to treat osteoporosis; in fact, there were only 1232 cases in the world where vitamin D was prescribed with quetiapine. Data mining proved helpful in locating these cases. Databases like FAERS aren’t just for making drug regulations; they have so much potential for side-effect relief using pre-existing drugs. There’s a lot we can hope for from reverse translational research like this.”