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Attitudes of old age psychiatrists in England and Wales to the use of mood stabilizer drugs

  • E. Ephraim (a1) and R. Prettyman (a1)

Abstract

Objective: This study investigates attitudes to the prescription of mood stabilizer drugs for older patients by old age psychiatrists.

Methods: From a sample of 508 members of the Old Age Faculty of the Royal College of Psychiatrists practicing in England and Wales, 188 (37%) took part in a postal questionnaire survey. A proforma questionnaire investigating opinions about potential indications for, and current concerns about, mood stabilizer drugs was sent to all participants.

Results: Nearly all respondents initiated prescriptions for mood stabilizer drugs and a large majority agreed that they are therapeutically appropriate for prophylaxis of affective disorder (95%), treatment resistant depression (95%), acute mania (91%) and for behavioral symptoms in dementia (75%). Concerns about safety (77%), drug interactions (68%) and lack of scientific evidence (53%) were common.

Conclusions: Old age psychiatrists are frequent prescribers of mood stabilizer drugs for a variety of indications but have understandable concerns arising from a relative lack of scientific evidence of efficacy and effectiveness in older patients.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: Dr. R. Prettyman, Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, Bennion Centre, Glenfield Hospital, Leicester LE3 9DZ, U.K. Phone: +44 (0)116 225 2752; Fax: +44 (0)116 2252770. Email: Richard.Prettyman@leicspart.nhs.uk.

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Attitudes of old age psychiatrists in England and Wales to the use of mood stabilizer drugs

  • E. Ephraim (a1) and R. Prettyman (a1)

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