Importance: Quetiapine has been associated with increased risk of type 2 diabetes when used in medium or high doses for the treatment of severe mental disorders. It is not known whether low doses, commonly used off-label for sedative-hypnotic purposes, are also associated with increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Objective: To investigate whether there is an association between prescription of low-dose quetiapine and the risk of type 2 diabetes. Design, Setting, and Participants: This cohort study examined nationwide Danish health registers for data regarding new users of quetiapine (n = 185938) or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) (n = 1031920) who were aged 18 years or older between January 1, 1998, and December 31, 2018. Individuals with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder were excluded. Quetiapine-initiators were matched 1:1 with initiators of SSRIs, using a high-dimensional propensity score (hdPS). Maximum follow-up was 5 years. Association with cumulative dose was investigated, using a case-control approach nested among quetiapine users. Data analysis was performed from May to September 2020. Exposures: Dispensing of quetiapine or SSRIs. Quetiapine prescriptions were limited to tablet strengths of 25 mg and 50 mg to focus on low-dose use. Main Outcomes and Measures: Incident type 2 diabetes was defined as first filling of an antidiabetic medication, first register diagnosis of type 2 diabetes or first hemoglobin A 1Cmeasurement greater than or equal to 6.4% (≥48 mmol/mol). Incidence rates (IRs), incidence rate ratios (IRRs), and number-needed-to-harm (NNH) were calculated for full and matched cohorts using as-treated and intention-to-treat approaches. Odds ratios (ORs) were calculated for the association with cumulative quetiapine dose. Results: Altogether, 896285 patients were included in the full cohort; 538164 (60%) were female and the median (interquartile range) age was 47 (33-67) years. There were 57701 low-dose quetiapine initiators and 838584 SSRI initiators. The matched cohort consisted of 54616 pairs. In as-treated analyses, the incidence of type 2 diabetes during treatment with low-dose quetiapine (425 cases) was 9.59 cases/1000 person-years (PY) (95% CI, 8.72-10.5/1000 PY), which was slightly higher than for SSRI users (8462 cases; IR, 8.13/1000 PY; 95% CI, 7.96-8.30/1000 PY), resulting in a significant IRR of 1.18 (95% CI, 1.07-1.30) and NNH of 684 (95% CI, 418-1873). However, the between-group difference was nonsignificant in the hdPS-matched cohort (IR, 9.49 vs IR, 9.58; IRR, 0.99; 95% CI, 0.87-1.13). The case-control analysis found no dose-response association of low-dose quetiapine with diabetes (OR for doubling of the cumulative dose: 1.02; 95% CI, 0.95-1.09; P =.54), but in sensitivity analyses higher daily doses were associated with diabetes (all tablet strengths: OR, 1.08; 95% CI, 1.03-1.13). Conclusions and Relevance: In this cohort study, use of low-dose quetiapine was not associated with excess risk of type 2 diabetes in comparison with SSRIs.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere213209
JournalJAMA Network Open
Issue number5
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 3. May 2021


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