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Combining Psychotropic Drugs Becoming More Common

Last Updated: January 06, 2010.

Polypharmacy combining different psychotropic medications is becoming more common, according to a study published in the January issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry, while a second study found that diabetes warnings from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration added to second-generation antipsychotic drugs have not resulted in an increase in testing or monitoring of at-risk patients.

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Polypharmacy combining different psychotropic medications is becoming more common, according to a study published in the January issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry, while a second study found that diabetes warnings from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration added to second-generation antipsychotic drugs have not resulted in an increase in testing or monitoring of at-risk patients.

Ramin Mojtabai, M.D., of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and Mark Olfson, M.D., of Columbia University in New York City, analyzed nationally representative data from 1996 to 2006 on 13,079 office-based psychiatry visits and found a growing trend of psychotropic polypharmacy combining antidepressant and antipsychotic medications, and that some combinations were unsupported by clinical trials.

Elaine H. Morrato, of the University of Colorado in Denver, and colleagues analyzed data on 109,451 Medicaid recipients who were taking second-generation antipsychotic medication, as well as 203,527 controls taking albuterol only, and found that there was no significant change to the low rates of serum glucose and lipid testing before and after the FDA warnings.

"More effort is needed to ensure that patients who receive second-generation antipsychotic drugs are screened for diabetes and dyslipidemia and monitored for potential adverse drug effects, beginning with baseline testing of serum glucose and lipids, so that patients can receive appropriate preventive care and treatment," Morrato and colleagues conclude.

Pfizer Inc. contracted the University of Colorado to conduct the metabolic testing study. Authors from both studies reported financial relationships with the pharmaceutical industry.

Abstract - Mojtabai
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Abstract - Morrato
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