Prescribing for bipolar patients varies by medical specialty

August 13, 2008

That's one of the conclusions of a new survey report by Decision Resources.

When treating newly diagnosed bipolar disorder patients, primary care physicians prescribe very differently from psychiatrists. That's one of the conclusions of a new survey report by market research firm Decision Resources. The Waltham, Mass., firm found that primary care physicians often order selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, such as Forest Laboratories' escitalopram (Lexapro), as first-line treatment, while psychiatrists usually prefer lamotrigine (Lamictal, GlaxoSmithKline). The survey also found that nearly half of the patients taking SSRIs first line receive these drugs as monotherapy even though clinical guideline recommendations call for giving bipolar patients presenting with depression an antimanic first line. The report noted that the number of primary care physicians who are diagnosing and treating bipolar patients has been on the rise in recent years.

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