Monday, August 11, 2008

Astonishing 52 Percent of Newly Diagnosed Bipolar Disorder Patients Receive Antidepressant Drugs in First-Line Treatment

Lamictal is the Leading Single-Agent in First-, Second- and Third-Line Therapy, According to a New Report from Decision Resources

Decision Resources, one of the world's leading research and advisory firms focusing on pharmaceutical and healthcare issues, finds that an astonishing 52.3 percent of newly diagnosed bipolar disorder patients are prescribed antidepressant drugs first line. The new report entitled Treatment Algorithms in Bipolar Disorder finds that this high preponderance of early-line antidepressant use stems from primary care physician prescribing. Surveyed primary care physicians specify selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (including Forest Laboratories' Lexapro) as a favored first-line treatment choice for patients with bipolar disorder I with acute depression (51 percent of surveyed physicians), bipolar disorder II with acute depression without hypomania (52 percent of surveyed physicians) and bipolar disorder II with acute depression with hypomania (46 percent of surveyed physicians).
"The number of primary care physicians who are diagnosing and treating bipolar patients has been on the rise in the past few years, but surveyed primary care physicians follow a very different treatment pattern than surveyed psychiatrists," said Madhuri Borde, Ph.D., analyst at Decision Resources. "Nearly half of the patients taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors first line receive these drugs as a monotherapy, despite guideline recommendations to give bipolar patients presenting with depression an antimanic first line."


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