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Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that manifests in childhood and can persist into adolescence and adulthood. Impairments associated with ADHD can impact quality of life, social interactions, and increase the risk of morbidity and mortality; however, for many patients, effective treatment can lessen these effects. Pharmacotherapy with stimulants or nonstimulants is recommended in conjunction with psychosocial therapy for most patients. Determining the optimal pharmacotherapy can be complex, and the clinician needs to consider many factors such as the patient’s age, comorbidities, and lifestyle. Furthermore, the needs of the patient with ADHD will change over time, with specific challenges to consider at each stage of life. A variety of Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved stimulant and nonstimulant formulations are available with different modes of delivery and durations of effect. This armamentarium of ADHD medications can be used to individualize ADHD treatment for each patient’s needs. This article combines current information from the literature and the first-hand experience of the authors to provide guidance on ADHD treatment options for patients of different ages and for some of the more common comorbidities.
Antidepressive pharmacotherapy (AD), electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) are effective treatments for major depressive disorder. With our review, we aim to provide a systematic overview of neuroimaging studies that investigate the effects of AD, ECT and CBT on brain grey matter volume (GMV) and biomarkers associated with response. After a systematic database research on PubMed, we included 50 studies using magnetic resonance imaging and investigating (1) changes in GMV, (2) pre-treatment GMV biomarkers associated with response, or (3) the accuracy of predictions of response to AD, ECT or CBT based on baseline GMV data. The strongest evidence for brain structural changes was found for ECT, showing volume increases within the temporal lobe and subcortical structures – such as the hippocampus–amygdala complex, anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and striatum. For AD, the evidence is heterogeneous as only 4 of 11 studies reported significant changes in GMV. The results are not sufficient in order to draw conclusions about the structural brain effects of CBT. The findings show consistently that higher pre-treatment ACC volume is associated with response to AD, ECT and CBT. An association of higher pre-treatment hippocampal volume and response has only been reported for AD. Machine learning approaches based on pre-treatment whole brain patterns reach accuracies of 64–90% for predictions of AD or ECT response on the individual patient level. The findings underline the potential of brain biomarkers for the implementation in clinical practice as an additive feature within the process of treatment selection.
It is becoming clear that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is not simply a psychiatric disorder, but one that involves pervasive physiological impairments as well. These physiological disturbances deserve attention in any attempt at integrative treatment of PTSD that requires a focus beyond the PTSD symptoms themselves. The physiological disturbances in PTSD range over many systems, but a common thread thought to underlie them is that the chronic effects of PTSD involve problems with allostatic control mechanisms that result in an excess in what has been termed “allostatic load” (AL). A pharmacological approach to reducing AL would be valuable, but, because of the large range of physiological issues involved – including metabolic, inflammatory, and cardiovascular systems – it is unclear whether there exists a simple comprehensive way to address the AL landscape. In this paper, we propose that the cannabinoid system may offer just such an approach, and we outline evidence for the potential utility of cannabinoids in reducing many of the chronic physiological abnormalities seen in PTSD which are thought to be related to excess AL.
Little evidence exists to support pharmacotherapeutic strategies for heart failure management in paediatrics. A recent Europe-wide survey suggests that this translates into substantial variability in clinical practice.
To conduct a formal discussion among an expert group of paediatric cardiology physicians on controversial aspects regarding the pharmacotherapy of children heart failure, facilitate consensus, and highlight areas of agreement and disagreement.
A two-round modified Delphi process was conducted between July and August 2015. Topics addressed were predominantly selected from the results of a previous Europe-wide survey. Fourteen statements were presented for discussion grouped under three categories; Angiotensin-converting-enzyme-inhibitors: Considerations for optimal dosage; Angiotensin-converting-enzyme-inhibitors for the management of CHDs; Neurohumoral antagonists for the management of dilated cardiomyopathy-related heart failure.
A total of 13 paediatricians dedicated to cardiology from across Europe and the United States of America completed the study; of them, 92% had a working experience in the field of more than 10 years and were working in a specific paediatric cardiology unit. Agreement on the acceptance/rejection of 11 statements was achieved. Results show agreement on the importance of a set of topics relevant to the standardisation of the therapy as well as consensus upon specific therapeutic attitudes.
We have found areas of common thinking and motivation, which can provide a means of triggering scientific collaboration. Our results might also contribute to disseminate available paediatric evidence and promote reducing unjustified variability in everyday practice. Until solid evidence is available, other research methods can contribute to advancing the goal of safe and effective paediatric heart failure pharmacotherapy.
The duration of untreated illness (DUI) is a potentially modifiable parameter associated with worst prognosis in several psychiatric disorders, but poorly investigated in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Our aims were to estimate the mean DUI in a large sample of individuals with OCD and its impact on response to the first ever adequate SRI treatment.
We retrospectively examined records of 251 patients with OCD (SCID-I, DSM-IV) who referred to our Department and were prospectively and naturalistically treated according to International Guidelines. The DUI was defined as the interval between age at onset and age at which patients received their first adequate pharmacological treatment. Response rates were compared in subjects with brief (≤24 months) versus long DUI. Logistic regression models predicting response and 12-week Y-BOCS score were run with DUI (among others) as independent variable.
The mean DUI was 106.19 ± 118.14 months, with a mean interval between onset of the disorder and when patients sought professional help of 82.27 ± 112.30 months. Response rates were significantly reduced in subjects with a long DUI, using both the cut-off of 24 months and the median value of 60 months. Regression analyses confirmed that a long (>24 months) DUI predicts poorer response and higher Y-BOCS scores at 12 weeks.
Our results, although preliminary, seem to suggest that a longer duration of untreated illness in OCD is associated with poorer outcome in terms of response to SRI treatments. It is imperative to do all the possible to shorten the DUI, both by improving access to mental health services, improving the ability of primary care physicians and mental health professionals to recognize OCD, and disseminate best-practice prescription guidelines.
Although cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is a well-established treatment for adult depression, its efficacy and efficiency may be enhanced by better understanding its mechanism(s) of action. According to the theoretical model of CBT, symptom improvement occurs via reductions in maladaptive cognition. However, previous research has not established clear evidence for this cognitive mediation model.
The present study investigated the cognitive mediation model of CBT in the context of a randomized controlled trial of CBT v. antidepressant medication (ADM) for adult depression. Participants with major depressive disorder were randomized to receive 16 weeks of CBT (n = 54) or ADM (n = 50). Depression symptoms and three candidate cognitive mediators (dysfunctional attitudes, cognitive distortions and negative automatic thoughts) were assessed at week 0 (pre-treatment), week 4, week 8 and week 16 (post-treatment). Longitudinal associations between cognition and depression symptoms, and mediation of treatment outcome, were evaluated in structural equation models.
Both CBT and ADM produced significant reductions in maladaptive cognition and depression symptoms. Cognitive content and depression symptoms were moderately correlated within measurement waves, but cross-lagged associations between the variables and indirect (i.e. mediated) treatment effects were non-significant.
The results provide support for concurrent relationships between cognitive and symptom change, but not the longitudinal relationships hypothesized by the cognitive mediation model. Results may be indicative of an incongruence between the timing of measurement and the dynamics of cognitive and symptom change.
Depression is increasingly recognized as a chronic and relapsing disorder. However, an important minority of patients who start treatment for their major depressive episode recover to euthymia. It is clinically important to be able to predict such individuals.
The study is a secondary analysis of a recently completed pragmatic megatrial examining first- and second-line treatments for hitherto untreated episodes of non-psychotic unipolar major depression (n = 2011). Using the first half of the cohort as the derivation set, we applied multiply-imputed stepwise logistic regression with backward selection to build a prediction model to predict remission, defined as scoring 4 or less on the Patient Health Quetionnaire-9 at week 9. We used three successively richer sets of predictors at baseline only, up to week 1, and up to week 3. We examined the external validity of the derived prediction models with the second half of the cohort.
In total, 37.0% (95% confidence interval 34.8–39.1%) were in remission at week 9. Only the models using data up to week 1 or 3 showed reasonable performance. Age, education, length of episode and depression severity remained in the multivariable prediction models. In the validation set, the discrimination of the prediction model was satisfactory with the area under the curve of 0.73 (0.70–0.77) and 0.82 (0.79–0.85), while the calibration was excellent with non-significant goodness-of-fit χ2 values (p = 0.41 and p = 0.29), respectively.
Patients and clinicians can use these prediction models to estimate their predicted probability of achieving remission after acute antidepressant therapy.
Since 2013, hoarding disorder has been recognised as a standalone diagnosis in the DSM, affecting an estimated 2–6% of the general population. This article outlines the arguments for and against this separate classification and considers the differentiation of hoarding disorder from normative collecting. It then discusses aetiology, assessment, course and treatment (both psychological and pharmacological interventions). It concludes with a discussion of ethical and legal considerations, in particular the fact that the inclusion of hoarding disorder as a distinct diagnosis in DSM-5 confers specific protections for people with the disorder under the Equality Act 2010.
•Be able to define the criteria of hoarding disorder
•Be able to recognise the difference between hoarding and collecting
•Understand potential treatment options for patients with hoarding disorder
Methodological and ethical constraints have hampered studies into long-term lasting outcomes of stimulant treatment in individuals with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Lasting effects may be beneficial (i.e. improved functioning even when treatment is temporarily ceased) or detrimental (i.e. worse functioning while off medication), but both hypotheses currently lack empirical support. Here we investigate whether stimulant treatment history predicts long-term development of ADHD symptoms, social–emotional functioning or cognition, measured after medication wash-out.
ADHD symptoms, social–emotional functioning and cognitive test performance were measured twice, 6 years apart, in two ADHD groups (stimulant-treated versus not stimulant-treated between baseline and follow-up). Groups were closely matched on baseline clinical and demographic variables (n = 148, 58% male, age = 11.1). A matched healthy control group was included for reference.
All but two outcome measures (emotional problems and prosocial behaviour) improved between baseline and follow-up. Improvement over time in the stimulant-treated group did not differ from improvement in the not stimulant-treated group on any outcome measure.
Stimulant treatment is not associated with the long-term developmental course of ADHD symptoms, social–emotional functioning, motor control, timing or verbal working memory. Adolescence is characterised by clinical improvement regardless of stimulant treatment during that time. These findings are an important source to inform the scientific and public debate.
Some antidepressants, such as trazodone or clomipramine, can be administered intravenously in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD), with potential benefits compared to the standard oral treatment, but available data about their efficacy are limited. The present study was aimed to compare the effectiveness of trazodone and clomipramine (intravenous [i.v.] followed by oral administration).
Some 42 patients with a diagnosis of MDD according to the DSM–5 were selected and treated with i.v. trazodone or clomipramine according to clinical judgment. The Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale, and the Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale were administered at baseline, after 2 weeks, and after 6 weeks, as well as after 1 week of intravenous antidepressant administration. Raters were blinded to type of treatment.
No significant differences were found between treatment groups in terms of effectiveness at endpoint. Borderline statistical significance was found in terms of number of responders in favor of trazodone. In addition, patients treated with trazodone reported fewer total side effects than those treated with clomipramine.
Both i.v. trazodone and clomipramine are rapid and effective options for improving depressive symptoms, although trazodone appears to be tolerated better. Further studies with larger samples and double-blind conditions are warranted to confirm our results.
Improving knowledge about delirium care is a key target for health care. We describe the implementation of a four-part workshop focusing upon key aspects of delirium care.
Attitudes towards and understanding of delirium diagnosis and management amongst psychiatrists were surveyed before and immediately after an educational workshop.
There were 62 participants. Pre-workshop, delirium was rated highly relevant to psychiatry. Overall level of confidence in diagnosis was modest, with the behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia considered the most challenging differential diagnosis. Only nine participants (15%) correctly identified DSM-5 delirium criteria. Preferred assessment of attention varied with six different approaches endorsed. Confidence was higher for managing hyperactive compared with hypoactive delirium (p<0.001). Pharmacotherapy was more frequently endorsed for hyperactive compared with hypoactive presentations, with haloperidol the most popular agent (p<0.001). A total of 41 (66%) participants completed post-workshop assessments. Post-workshop, there were significant increases to the perceived relevance of delirium (p = 0.003), confidence in overall diagnosis (p<0.001) accuracy of awareness of DSM-5 criteria (p<0.001), and confidence in treating different presentations (p<0.001). The Months Backward Test was the preferred bedside test of attention (38/40 respondents).
This interactive educational intervention impacted positively upon knowledge and attitudes amongst psychiatrists towards key aspects of delirium care. Further investigation can examine the impact upon longer term knowledge and behaviour.
Recent empirical findings from clinical and genetic studies suggest that mentalization, a key area of social cognition, is a distinct construct, although it is closely related to the neurocognitive deficits and symptoms of schizophrenia. Mentalization contributes a great deal to impaired social functioning. Current measures often display methodological problems, and many aspects should be taken into account when assessing mentalization. Moreover, advances in cognitive and affective neurosciences have led to the development of more advanced behavioral methods to assess the relationship between cognitive functions, symptoms, and social cognition based on their underlying neural mechanisms. The development of assessment tools that better examine the neural circuitry of such relationships may lead to the development of new psychosocial and pharmacological treatments.
The DSM–5 incorporates a broad concept of mixed states and captured ≥3 nonoverlapping symptoms of the opposite polarity using a “with mixed features” specifier to be applied to manic/hypomanic and major depressive episodes. Pharmacotherapy of mixed states is challenging because of the necessity to treat both manic/hypomanic and depressive symptoms concurrently. High-potency antipsychotics used to treat manic symptoms and antidepressants can potentially deteriorate symptoms of the opposite polarity. This review aimed to provide a synthesis of the current evidence for pharmacotherapy of mixed states with an emphasis on mixed mania/hypomania. A PubMed search was conducted for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that were at least moderately sized, included a placebo arm, and contained information on acute-phase and maintenance treatments of adult patients with mixed episodes or mania/hypomania with significant depressive symptoms. Most studies were post-hoc subgroup and pooled analyses of the data from RCTs for acute manic and mixed episodes of bipolar I disorder; only two prospectively examined efficacy for mixed mania/hypomania specifically. Aripiprazole, asenapine, carbamazepine, olanzapine, and ziprasidone showed the strongest evidence of efficacy in acute-phase treatment. Quetiapine and divalproex/valproate were also efficacious. Combination therapies with these atypical antipsychotics and mood stabilizers can be considered in severe cases. Olanzapine and quetiapine (alone or in combination with lithium/divalproex) showed the strongest evidence of efficacy in maintenance treatment. Lithium and lamotrigine may be beneficial given their preventive effects on suicide and depressive relapse. Further prospective studies primarily focusing on mixed states are needed.
There is growing recognition of the importance of both functioning and quality of life (QoL) outcomes in the treatment of depressive disorders, but the meta-analytic evidence is scarce. The objective of this meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) was to determine the absolute and relative effects of psychotherapy, pharmacotherapy and their combination on functioning and QoL in patients with depression.
One hundred and fifty-three outcome trials involving 29 879 participants with depressive disorders were identified through database searches in Pubmed, PsycINFO and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials.
Compared to control conditions, psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy yielded small to moderate effect sizes for functioning and QoL, ranging from g = 0.31 to g = 0.43. When compared directly, initial analysis yielded no evidence that one of them was superior. After adjusting for publication bias, psychotherapy was more efficacious than pharmacotherapy (g = 0.21) for QoL. The combination of psychotherapy and medication performed significantly better for both outcomes compared to each treatment alone yielding small effect sizes (g = 0.32 to g = 0.39). Both interventions improved depression symptom severity more than functioning and QoL.
Despite the small number of comparative trials for some of the analyses, this study reveals that combined treatment is superior, but psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy alone are also efficacious for improving functioning and QoL. The overall relatively modest effects suggest that future tailoring of therapies could be warranted to better meet the needs of individuals with functioning and QoL problems.
Systemic hypertension is increasingly recognised in premature infants. There is limited evidence regarding treatment, and most published treatment recommendations are based solely on expert opinions.
We identified all infants born ⩽32 weeks of gestation and ⩽1500 g birth weight discharged from one of 348 neonatal ICUs managed by the Pediatrix Medical Group between 1997 and 2013. We defined antihypertensive drugs as vasodilators, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, β receptor blockers, calcium channel blockers, and central α2 receptor agonists. We compared characteristics between infants who were treated with at least one antihypertensive drug during their initial hospitalisation and infants who were not prescribed antihypertensive drugs using Wilcoxon’s ranked sum test or Pearson’s χ2-test.
We identified 2504/119,360 (2.1%) infants who required at least one antihypertensive drug. The median postnatal age of first exposure was 48 days (25th, 75th percentile 15, 86), and the median length of therapy was 6 days (1, 16). Hydralazine was the most commonly prescribed antihypertensive with 1280/2504 (51.1%) treated infants exposed to the drug. More than two antihypertensive drugs were administered in 582/2504 (23.2%) infants, and 199/2097 (9.5%) of the treated infants were discharged home on antihypertensive therapy. Infants who received antihypertensive drugs were of lower gestational age (p<0.001) and birth weight (p<0.001) compared with infants not prescribed antihypertensive drugs.
Our study is the largest to describe current antihypertensive drug exposure in a cohort of exclusively premature infants born ⩽32 weeks of gestation. We found wide variations in practice for treating hypertension in premature infants.
Public controversy regarding the potential overdiagnosis and overmedication of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has continued for decades. This study used the National Health Insurance Research Database of Taiwan (NHIRD-TW) to explore trends in ADHD diagnosis in youths and the proportion of those receiving medication, with the aim of determining whether ADHD is overdiagnosed and overmedicated in Taiwan.
Youths (age ≤18 years) who had at least two NHIRD-TW claims records with ADHD diagnosis between January 2000 and December 2011 were selected as the subject cohort. In total, the study sample comprised 145 018 patients with ADHD (mean age at a diagnosis of ADHD: 7.7 ± 3.1 years; 21.4% females). The number of cases of ADHD were calculated annually for each year (from 2000 to 2011), and the number of cases per year who received medication was determined as those with at least one record of pharmacotherapy (immediate-release methylphenidate, osmotic controlled-release formulation of methylphenidate, and atomoxetine) in each year.
The prevalence rates of a diagnosis of ADHD in the youths ranged from 0.11% in 2000 to 1.24% in 2011. Compared with children under 6 years of age, the ADHD diagnosis rates in children aged between 7 and 12 years (ratio of prevalence rates = 4.36) and in those aged between 13 and 18 years (ratio of prevalence rates = 1.42) were significantly higher during the study period. The prevalence in males was higher than that in females (ratio of prevalence rates = 4.09). Among the youths with ADHD, 50.2% received medications in 2000 compared with 61.0% in 2011. The probability of receiving ADHD medication increased with age. More male ADHD patients received medications that females patients (ratio of prevalence rates = 1.16).
The rate of ADHD diagnosis was far lower than the prevalence rate (7.5%) identified in a previous community study using face-to-face interviews. Approximately 40–50% of the youths with ADHD did not receive any medications. These findings are not consistent with a systematic public opinion about overdiagnosis or overmedication of ADHD in Taiwan.
Lithium remains a first-line treatment for bipolar disorder, but clinicians have considerable concern over potential adverse effects, especially in older adults. Older patients’ attitude towards lithium has not been investigated, even though negative attitudes are closely associated with reduced adherence. We examine the attitude towards lithium pharmacotherapy in older adults with bipolar disorder.
In a cross-sectional study of 78 patients aged >60 years with bipolar disorder, the association between lithium use and attitudes towards psychotropic pharmacotherapy was assessed using the Drug Attitude Inventory (DAI-10), including multivariate analyses.
Compared to patients using alternative psychopharmacological treatments (n =30), lithium users (n=48) showed higher self-reported contentedness, subjective somatic health, and social functioning scores. Although 58.7% of lithium users reported severe adverse effects, lithium users had more positive attitudes towards psychotropic pharmacotherapy compared to non-users (DAI-10 mean score 6.0 vs. 3.9, p =0.01), and this effect was independent of potential confounders.
Older bipolar patients using lithium have a more positive attitude towards psychotropic pharmacotherapy, despite high rates of adverse effects. Future longitudinal studies could investigate whether positive medication attitudes lead to improved treatment adherence and reduced bipolar disorder relapse in older lithium users.
We performed a qualitative review of treatment studies of binge eating disorder (BED), focusing on randomized clinical trials (RCTs). Limited effectiveness has been demonstrated for self-help strategies, and substantial effectiveness has been shown for cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy (IPT). CBT and IPT may each be more effective than behavior weight loss therapy (BWLT) for reducing binge eating over the long term. The stimulant pro-drug lisdexamfetamine dimesylate (LDX) is the only drug approved by the FDA for the treatment of BED in adults based on 2 pivotal RCTs. Topiramate also decreases binge eating behavior, but its use is limited by its adverse event profile. Antidepressants may be modestly effective over the short term for reducing binge eating behavior and comorbid depressive symptoms, but are not associated with clinically significant weight loss. A RCT presented in abstract form suggests that intranasal naloxone may decrease time spent binge eating. There is no RCT of obesity surgery in BED, but many patients with BED seek and receive such surgery. While some studies suggest patients with BED and obesity do just as well as patients with obesity alone, other studies suggest that patients with BED have more post-operative complications, less weight loss, and more weight regain. This evidence suggests that patients with BED would benefit from receiving highly individualized treatment.