Rebuttal to Gravely et al. Validity of PTSD diagnoses in VA administrative data: Comparison of VA administrative PTSD diagnoses to self-reported PTSD Checklist scores. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2011; 48(1):21-30. Available from:

Center for Comprehensive Access & Delivery Research and Evaluation at the Iowa City VA Medical Center, Iowa City, IA.
The Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development (Impact Factor: 1.43). 01/2011; 48(5):vii-ix.
Source: PubMed
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    ABSTRACT: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Department of Defense (DoD) issued a revised posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) Clinical Practice Guideline (CPG) in 2010 with specific pharmacotherapy recommendations for evidence-based quality care. The authors examined prescribing frequencies over an 11-year period prior to the release of the new guideline to determine gender differences in pharmacotherapy treatment in veterans with PTSD. National administrative VA data from 1999 to 2009 were used to identify veterans with PTSD using ICD-9 codes extracted from inpatient discharges and outpatient clinic visits. Prescribing of antidepressants, antipsychotics and hypnotics was determined for each year using prescription drug files. Women were more likely than men to receive medication across all classes except prazosin where men had higher prescribing frequency. The proportion of women receiving either of the first-line pharmacotherapy treatments for PTSD, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI), increased from 56.4 % in 1999 to 65.7 % in 2009, higher rates than seen in men (49.2 % to 58.3 %). Atypical antipsychotic prescriptions increased from 14.6 % to 26.3 % and nonbenzodiazepine hypnotics increased from 3.8 % to 16.9 % for women, higher frequencies than seen in men for both medications (OR = 1.31, 1.43 respectively). The most notable gender discrepancy was observed for benzodiazepines where prescriptions decreased for men (36.7 % in 1999 to 29.8 % in 2009) but steadily increased for women from 33.4 % to 38.3 %. A consistent pattern of increased prescribing of psychotropic medications among women with PTSD was seen compared to men. Prescribing frequency for benzodiazepines showed a marked gender difference with a steady increase for women despite guideline recommendations against use and a decrease for men. Common co-occurring disorders and sleep symptom management are important factors of PTSD pharmacotherapy and may contribute to gender differences seen in prescribing benzodiazepines in women but do not fully explain the apparent disparity.
    Journal of General Internal Medicine 07/2013; 28 Suppl 2(Suppl 2):542-8. DOI:10.1007/s11606-012-2260-9 · 3.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) treatment is often complicated in veterans by co-occurring conditions including pain, insomnia, brain injury, and other mental disorders. Pharmacologic approaches to these conditions can produce an accumulation of sedating medications with potential for safety concerns. The objective of this study was to characterize polysedative prescribing among veterans with PTSD over an 8-year period. National Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) data were used to identify veterans with PTSD using International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision codes among regular medication users. Prescribing of benzodiazepines, hypnotics, atypical antipsychotics, opioids, and muscle relaxants was determined annually. Prevalence and incidence rates were determined for each medication class from 2004 through 2011. Polysedative use was determined from longitudinal refill patterns that indicated concurrent use across sedative classes. In 2004, 9.8% of veterans with PTSD concurrently received medications from three or more sedative classes. By 2011, the prevalence of concurrent use involving three or more classes increased to 12.1%. Polysedative use varied across demographic subgroups, with higher rates observed among women, rural residents, younger adults, Native Americans and Whites. The most common combination was an opioid plus a benzodiazepine, taken concurrently by 15.9% of veterans with PTSD. Important trends in polysedative use among veterans with PTSD illustrate the complexity of treating an intersecting cluster of symptoms managed by sedative medications. As the VA seeks to improve care by focusing on non-pharmacologic options, our findings emphasize the need for a comprehensive approach that encompasses overlapping conditions of relevance to veterans with PTSD.
    Pain Medicine 12/2013; 15(7). DOI:10.1111/pme.12321 · 2.30 Impact Factor

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