Lithium prevents suicide in mood disorders, according to updated systematic review

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Mood disorders include schizoaffective, dysthymia, rapid cycling, unipolar and bipolar disorders. People with mood disorders have a 30 times higher risk of suicide than the general population. Recent Mental Elf blogs have summarised the data on suicide risk and bipolar disorder, and shown that one key treatment is lithium which appears to have a robust evidence [read the full story...]

New guideline says lithium still appears to have the most robust evidence base as a long-term treatment for bipolar disorder

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Bipolar disorder features as one of the top ten disabling disorders for working age adults. There are numerous risks including suicide, increased mortality and reduced social functioning associated with the disorder. Key to enabling recovery is preventing acute episodes from occurring, with each episode increasing the risk of future ones. Therefore ensuring long-term maintenance treatment [read the full story...]

Treatment of bipolar in specialised outpatient mood disorder clinics substantially reduces readmissions to psychiatric hospitals

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There is a limited amount of good quality research being published about bipolar disorder, particularly investigating the early stages. Bipolar is associated with a high risk of relapse and this risk of relapse increases with the number of previous episodes. Observational studies suggest that early intervention may improve both course and outcome, but currently progression [read the full story...]

Scotland sees increase in prescribing rates for mental health drugs

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The Scottish Government have published their annual summary of prescribing statistics for mental health drugs. The report shows increases in the prescribing rates for all groups of drugs over the last 12 months. The prescribing costs of some groups of drugs have also risen (ADHD, dementia, depression) although other groups have seen a decline (insomnia [read the full story...]

Psychiatric drugs make up a bigger proportion of all prescription costs than they did a decade ago

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There continues to be a considerable amount of debate about the amount of psychiatric medication that is prescribed and how much it costs. Statistics from a number of countries have shown that many classes of drugs are being prescribed more and more, including antidepressants, antipsychotics and stimulants. Of course, as populations grow, people live longer [read the full story...]

Psychiatric drugs are as effective as other drugs, says new review of meta-analyses

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There’s an interesting review in the British Journal of Psychiatry this week, which compares the effectiveness of psychiatric drugs with those used to treat physical health problems. The headline from the review is that ‘psychiatric drugs are as effective as other drugs’. Professor Stefan Leucht who led the review team claims that: There is a [read the full story...]

The side effects of lithium: new systematic review provides toxicity profile

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Lithium is a medicine that has been used for over 50 years to treat depression and bipolar disorder. It comes in two forms that are used clinically: lithium carbonate and lithium citrate. A certain level of the drug is needed in the blood stream for it to be effective, but if the level rises too [read the full story...]

Shared decision-making and medicines: closing the gap between policy and practice

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Shared decision-making is all the rage right now, so it’s great to see this new report written by Professor Alan Cribb from the Centre for Public Policy Research at King’s College London. There has been broad acceptance for many years that patient-centred care and shared decision-making between patients and healthcare professionals is a good idea, [read the full story...]

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Tooth loss three times higher in people with serious mental illness

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People with severe mental illnesses like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder are over three times more likely to lose their teeth because of poor oral health than the general population. The research, published in the September issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry, shows that psychiatric patients have not shared in recent improvements in dental health. [read the full story...]

Major new meta-analysis shows that antipsychotics are significantly more effective than mood stabilisers for treating acute mania

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Researchers from Oxford and Verona have published a major new meta-analysis in the Lancet, which measures the effectiveness of all anti-manic drugs. The review team searched and found 68 randomised controlled trials from 1980-2010 (a total of 16,073 patients).  The study includes a range of antipsychotics and mood stabilisers used at a therapeutic dose range [read the full story...]