Government agencies and industry have recently undertaken educational programs for the management of bipolar disorder in primary care, but their medical impact is not well known. Therefore, we conducted a survey among general practitioners to evaluate the impact of the Bipolact Educational Program on the diagnosis and treatment of bipolar disorder.
A total of 45 general practitioners attending the Bipolact Educational Program (trained group) were compared with a control group of 50 untrained general practitioners on their ability to: (i) diagnose bipolar I and II disorders and (ii) treat bipolar disorder patients appropriately.
Trained physicians, but not untrained physicians, showed a significant improvement (p < 0.0001, chi-square test) in the ability to identify patients as having bipolar I (from 10.4% to 28.8%) and bipolar II disorder (from 20.1% to 45.8%). This trend resulted in a strong decrease in nonidentified bipolar disorder patients (from 64.6% to 19.5%). Trained physicians, but not the untrained group, greatly increased the number of prescriptions for mood stabilizers for bipolar disorder patients, from 25.6% to 43.2% (p = 0.0013, chi-square test). Finally, trained physicians reduced the number of antidepressant prescriptions for bipolar disorder patients (the control group also reduced the number of antidepressant prescriptions, suggesting some bias in the survey).
A well-designed education package on diagnosis and management of bipolar disorder greatly increased the likelihood of physicians correctly assigning a subtype, namely bipolar I or bipolar II disorder, to patients already perceived as having some form of bipolar illness, and to prescribing mood stabilizers instead of antidepressants to these patients.
"These findings reaffirm that GPs play a critical role in the screening, early and accurate detection as well as management of bipolar disorders (Berk et al., 2005; Bhugra and Flick, 2005). In keeping with this view, the development of educational programs intended to improve awareness and knowledge of BD in the PC are warranted (Rouillon et al., 2011a). Furthermore, there is a need to further study the effects of collaborative care interventions for the management of bipolar depression in the PC settings (Bauer et al., 2009; Bauer et al., 2006). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To compare individuals in primary care (PC) who screen positive for bipolar depression to those who screened positive for unipolar depression on mental health care ouctomes, PC service utilization, medical comorbidities, suicidal ideation, health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and psychosocial functioning.
In this cross-sectional study, participants (N=1197) answered self-reported measures of depressive symptoms (Center for epidemiologic studies depression scale), HRQoL (World Health Organization Quality of Life instrument-Abbreviated version), medical comorbidity (functional comorbidity index) and functioning (Functional Assessment Short test). Participants were partitioned into 'bipolar' and 'unipolar' depression groups based on a predefined cutoff on the Brazilian mood disorder questionnaire.
The prevalence of bipolar depression was in PC was 4.6% (95% CI: 3.4-5.8). Participants with bipolar depression were more likely to endorse suicidal ideation, present with more medical comorbidities, report a worse physical HRQoL and have a higher rate of PC services utilization as compared to participants who screened positive for unipolar depression. Only six (10.9%) participants were recognized by the general practitioner as having a diagnosis of bipolar depression.
The cross-sectional design prevents firm causal inferences from being drawn. A positive screen for BD does not substantiate the actual diagnosis. Co-morbid mental disorders were not accessed.
Bipolar depression is common and under-recognized in Brazilian PC services. A positive screen for bipolar depression was associated with worse clinical outcomes and greater PC service utilization.
"Future research and intervention can change the current practice . A recent study  has shown that educational programs were the best means of increasing the likelihood of general practitioners correctly assigning a subtype diagnosis in the treatment of BD, and prescribing mood stabilizers instead of antidepressants. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Many new approaches have been adopted for the treatment of bipolar disorder (BD) in the past few years, which strived to produce more positive outcomes. To enhance the quality of care, several guideline recommendations have been developed. For study purposes, we monitored the prescription of psychotropic drugs administered to bipolar patients who had been referred to tertiary care services, and assessed the degree to which treatment met specific guidelines.
Between December 2006 and February 2009, we assessed 113 individuals suffering from BD who had been referred to the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre (ROMHC) Mood Disorders Program by physicians within the community, mostly general practitioners. The Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV-TR was used to assess diagnosis. The prescribed treatment was compared with specific Canadian guidelines (CANMAT, 2009). Univariate analyses and logistic regression were used to assess the contribution of demographic and clinical factors for concordance of treatment with guidelines.
Thirty-two subjects had BD type I (BD-I), and 81 subjects had BD type II (BD-II). All subjects with BD-I, and 90% of the BD-II group were given at least one psychotropic treatment. Lithium was more often prescribed for subjects with BD-I (62%) than those with BD-II (19%). Antidepressants were the most frequently prescribed class of psychotropics. Sixty-eight percent of subjects received treatment concordant with guidelines by medication and dose. The presence of a current hypomanic episode was independently associated with poorer concordance to guidelines. In more than half the cases, the inappropriate use of antidepressants was at the origin of the non concordance of treatment with respect to guidelines. Absence of psychotropic treatment in bipolar II patients and inadequate dosage of mood stabilizers were the two other main causes of non concordance with guidelines.
The factors related to treatment not concordant with guidelines should be further explored to determine appropriate strategies in implementing the use of guidelines in clinical practice.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Two recent studies conducted in the US and in France found an unexpectedly high prevalence of a positive screen for bipolar disorder (BD) in primary care (PC). There are few studies of the prevalence of BD in PC and no information exists on the epidemiology of BD in Brazilian PC services. This study investigated the prevalence and correlates of a positive screen for BD among patients attending three Brazilian PC centers. METHODS: This cross-sectional survey recruited a systematic sample of 720 patients between 18 and 70 years of age who were seeking primary care treatment. Study measures included the Mood Disorder Questionnaire, the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale, the World Health Organization Quality of Life instrument-Abbreviated version, the Functional Comorbidity Index, the Functioning Assessment Short Test, data on past mental health care, service utilization and a review of medical records for coded diagnosis. RESULTS: The prevalence of receiving positive screen for BD was 7.6% (n=55; 95% CI: 5.6-9.5%), but only 2 (3.6%) were recognized by general practitioners. A positive screen for BD was associated with significant depressive symptoms (CES-D score ≥16; 70.9%) and more general medical conditions, along with higher primary care utilization. Patients who screened positive for BD reported worse health-related quality of life as well as impaired functioning, compared to those who screened negative. LIMITATIONS: Co-morbid mental disorders were not assessed. The cross-sectional design prevents firm cause-effect inferences. CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of a positive screening for BD is high, clinically significant and under-recognized in Brazilian PC settings.
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