An increasing number of U.S. adults are being prescribed combinations of antidepressants and antipsychotic medications, according to a report in the January issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
In some clinical situations, evidence suggests that more than one psychotropic (affecting the brain or mind) medication may be beneficial, according to background information in the article. For instance, a patient with depression who does not respond to one medication alone might require a second antidepressant, or an individual who has depression with psychotic features might respond to a combination of an antidepressant and an antipsychotic. "In routine psychiatric practice, however, patients often receive psychiatric medication combinations that are not well supported by controlled clinical trials," the authors write.
To examine patterns and trends in psychotropic polypharmacy—or the prescription of more than one psychiatric medication—Ramin Mojtabai, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., of Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, and Mark Olfson, M.D., M.P.H., of Columbia University Medical Center and the New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, analyzed data collected from a national sample of office-based psychiatry practices. The number of medications prescribed and specific medication combinations were assessed from a total of 13,079 office visits to psychiatrists by adults (18 years or older) between 1996 and 2006.
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