What impact are psychotropic drugs having on our physical health?

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John Baker summarises the findings of a recent review of people with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression. The study looks at the adverse effects on physical health of psychotropic drugs (antipsychotics, antidepressants and mood stabilisers).

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Medication for the maintenance treatment of bipolar disorder

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Elena Marcus summarises a recent network meta-analysis published in The Lancet of the comparative efficacy and tolerability of medication for the maintenance treatment of bipolar disorder.

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Are treatments for bipolar disorder cost-effective?

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Chris Sampson reports on a recent systematic review and critical appraisal of economic evaluations in bipolar disorder. He finds that there’s a pressing need for new studies, especially discrete event simulations.

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The adverse effects of psychiatric drugs and emergency department visits

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A new study finds that psychiatric medications are implicated in many adverse drug events treated in US emergency departments. Nearly 1 in 10 of all adverse drug event visits to emergency departments are due to psychiatric drugs, including antidepressants, antipsychotics, lithium salts, sedatives, anxiolytics and stimulants.

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Lithium is less expensive than olanzapine in treatment-resistant depression, but has unclear clinical benefits

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Treatment-resistant depression (TRD) still represents a challenge to psychiatric practice. Since patients have usually failed at least two antidepressants, drugs originally prescribed for other conditions are often tried as an augmentation (Souery er al., 2006). Amongst them, lithium (a mood-stabiliser used in the treatment of bipolar disorders) as well as atypical antipsychotics (AAPs, indicated for [read the full story…]

Lithium prevents suicide in mood disorders, according to updated systematic review

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Mood disorders include schizoaffective, dysthymia, rapid cycling, unipolar and bipolar disorders. People with mood disorders have a 30 times higher risk of suicide than the general population. Recent Mental Elf blogs have summarised the data on suicide risk and bipolar disorder, and shown that one key treatment is lithium which appears to have a robust evidence [read the full story…]

New guideline says lithium still appears to have the most robust evidence base as a long-term treatment for bipolar disorder

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Bipolar disorder features as one of the top ten disabling disorders for working age adults. There are numerous risks including suicide, increased mortality and reduced social functioning associated with the disorder. Key to enabling recovery is preventing acute episodes from occurring, with each episode increasing the risk of future ones. Therefore ensuring long-term maintenance treatment [read the full story…]

The side effects of lithium: new systematic review provides toxicity profile

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Lithium is a medicine that has been used for over 50 years to treat depression and bipolar disorder. It comes in two forms that are used clinically: lithium carbonate and lithium citrate. A certain level of the drug is needed in the blood stream for it to be effective, but if the level rises too [read the full story…]