The Use of Antipsychotics in Primary Care

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There has been a substantial increase in the number of patients suffering from psychiatric disorders who seek treatment in primary care practices, which has precipitated an increase in the number of prescriptions written by primary care physicians for psychotropic agents. As managed care has become entrenched in communities, many patients presenting with psychiatric disorders are seeking help from primary care physicians because mental health coverage offered by many managed care companies is deemed to be inadequate. There currently exists considerable variation in prescribing patterns of psychotropic medications between primary care providers and psychiatrists and among primary care physicians themselves, as well as a general lack of concordance between diagnoses and psychotropic medications prescribed in the medical field as a whole. Prescribing patterns vary due to differences in diagnoses, the discomfort that some primary care physicians feel toward prescribing psychotropic medications, differing levels of awareness and recognition due to cultural variances, the perceived negative stigma of mental illness, and insufficient education regarding the etiology and management of psychiatric disorders. These variations are particularly evident in the prescribing trends of antipsychotic medications by primary care physicians.​

Primary Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry 2003;5(suppl 3):3-8