Awareness of Metabolic Concerns and Perceived Impact of Pharmacotherapy in Patients with Bipolar Disorder: A Survey of 500 US Psychiatrists

Department of Psychiatry, Bipolar Disorder Research Program, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas 75390-9121, USA.
Psychopharmacology bulletin (Impact Factor: 0.5). 01/2007; 40(2):22-37; quiz 38-40.
Source: PubMed


An online survey was conducted to assess psychiatrists' familiarity with the metabolic syndrome and its components in patients with bipolar disorder, and characterize their perspectives and practices regarding its impact on patient management.
Participants were US psychiatrists from a random sample of those in the AMA database. Qualified respondents practiced 4-30 years, spent > or = 50% of their time in direct patient care, and treated > or = 25 bipolar patients in the last month. Results were collected and tabulated by Harris Interactive from Nov-Dec 2005.
Five hundred psychiatrists qualified and completed the survey, and 50 respondents also participated in follow-up interviews. Most respondents (94%) viewed metabolic syndrome as a significant health risk requiring monitoring and treatment. While 76% have diagnosed it, only 28% correctly identified the five NCEP diagnostic criteria. Medication adverse effects of greatest concern were weight gain, glucose intolerance, and dyslipidemia. During treatment, 78% of respondents reported monitoring weight, 69% glucose, 61% lipids, and 52% blood pressure. Most respondents (92%) reported referring patients to specialists or primary care for metabolic abnormalities. Changes in metabolic profile were reported to prompt many psychiatrists (85%) to stop or switch bipolar medications, especially those who treat a large number of bipolar patients (89%). The follow-up interviews supported a change in practice patterns over the last 5 years.
Nearly all respondents have metabolic concerns with medical therapies used to treat bipolar disorder. Many now routinely monitor weight and other metabolic parameters. Most have referred patients for medical management and adjusted bipolar therapies due to metabolic abnormalities.

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