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Int Clin Psychopharmacol. 2012 Sep;27(5):256-66. doi: 10.1097/YIC.0b013e328356ac92.

Treatment patterns in inpatients with bipolar disorder at a psychiatric university hospital over a 9-year period: focus on mood stabilizers.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria.


The increasing number of pharmacological treatment options for bipolar disorder seems to be paralleled by the number of evidence-based guidelines published previously. The aim of this study was to systematically examine the adherence to published guidelines and any change in prescription habits over time in a psychiatric hospital setting. This is a retrospective study of 531 bipolar in patients who were consecutively admitted to the Department for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy in Innsbruck. Their complete medical histories were evaluated for psychotropic medications, with a special focus on mood stabilizers (MSs). To compare the use of individual MSs or combinations with other psychotropic medications in two preselected observation periods (1999-2003 and 2004-2007), we used Fisher's exact test. Overall, the proportion of patients receiving at least one MS increased significantly from 1999-2003 to 2004-2007 (74.1 vs. 83.1%, P=0.011). Among the individual MSs, valproate was used most frequently in both time periods, showing a significant increase (P<0.001). Prescriptions of quetiapine (P<0.001) and lamotrigine (P=0.033) increased significantly, carbamazepine showed a significant decrease (P<0.001). Prescriptions of lithium and olanzapine decreased without reaching significance. The significant increase in the prescription of MS reflects the increasing awareness and implementation of recent evidence-based medicine guidelines into clinical practice. Clinical decision making, usually made on the basis of individual clinical experience, should always be reevaluated using periodically updated evidence-based medicine guidelines.

© 2012 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

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