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Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2001 Oct 1;58(19):1824-9.

Practitioner versus medication-expert opinion on psychiatric pharmacotherapy of mentally retarded patients with mental disorders.

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  • 1College of Pharmacy, The University of Texas at Austin, 78712, USA.


The agreement of practicing psychiatrists with medication experts regarding how psychotropic drugs should be used to treat behavioral and psychiatric problems in patients with mental retardation was studied. The medication survey used in developing guidelines on the treatment of behavioral and psychiatric problems in mental retardation was sent to 85 psychiatrists who had been identified as caring for the mentally retarded in the Texas public mental health system. The comparison of these practitioners with the medication experts included first-line and second-line treatment choices. Survey analysis was based on using 95% confidence intervals (CIs) to determine the type of rating. If the 95% CIs for the practitioners' responses overlapped the 95% CIs for experts, the two groups were judged to be in agreement. Thirty-seven practitioners (43.5%) completed and returned the survey. Few differences between the practitioners and the medication experts were found with respect to treatments for specific mental illness diagnoses. However, the practitioners rated venlafaxine and mirtazapine higher than the medication experts. Lithium augmentation of therapy with selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors for nonpsychotic depression was rated first-line by the practitioners and second-line by the medication experts. Practicing psychiatrists and medication experts generally agreed about the use of psychotropic drugs for mental illness in patients with mental retardation.

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