Lookup NU author(s): Professor Hamish McAllister-Williams
Full text for this publication is not currently held within this repository. Alternative links are provided below where available.
The use of lithium for the treatment of mania, prophylaxis of bipolar disorder and augmentation of antidepressants in treatment-refractory unipolar depression is supported by British Association for Psychopharmacology and National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidelines. We describe prescribing patterns with lithium in a large sample of patients with affective disorders. Data were collected during a baseline clinical audit of the quality of lithium monitoring, conducted by the Prescribing Observatory for Mental Health. Thirty-five National Health Service Trusts submitted data for 2776 patients with a diagnosis of affective illness (ICD10 F30–39), 1919 (69%) of whom had bipolar affective disorder. The last recorded lithium level was below the therapeutic range (<0.4 mmol/L) in one in 10 patients. Co-prescribing was common; 57% of bipolar patients were prescribed an antipsychotic and 77% of those with other affective disorders, an antidepressant. We conclude that serum lithium levels within the therapeutic range are maintained in the majority of patients. A high proportion of patients are co-prescribed other psychotropic drugs; such prescribing is consistent with evidence-based treatment guidelines and may reflect difficulty managing the symptoms of affective disorders with lithium monotherapy. A significant minority of patients prescribed lithium had a sub-therapeutic blood level and so may be at high risk of relapse.
Author(s): Paton C, Barnes TRE, Shingleton-Smith A, McAllister-Williams RH, Kirkbride J, Jones PB, McIntyre S
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: Journal of Psychopharmacology
Print publication date: 20/05/2010
ISSN (print): 0269-8811
ISSN (electronic): 1461-7285
Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd.
Altmetrics provided by Altmetric