January 4, 2010
Psychiatrists who prescribe drugs for their patients today usually give more than one at a time, often with little scientific basis, researchers said.
About 60% of patients with psychiatrist office visits leading to a drug prescription received at least two medications in 2005-2006, according to government survey data analyzed by Ramin Mojtabai, MD, PhD, MPH, of Johns Hopkins University, and Mark Olfson, MD, MPH, of Columbia University.
That was up from about 43% in 1996-1997 (P<0.001), the researchers reported in the January Archives of General Psychiatry.
They also found that 33% of prescription-associated visits led to three or more medications in the latter period, compared with 17% nine years earlier (P<0.001).
These multiple combinations sometimes involved drugs within the same class — two or more antidepressants for depressed patients, for example — but more often drugs of different classes.
Gaining in popularity during the study period were combinations of antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs, with an adjusted odds ratio of 1.96 (P<0.001) for each year during the study period.
Read entire article: http://www.medpagetoday.com/Psychiatry/GeneralPsychiatry/17785
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