Primary Care Perspectives on Treating Bipolar Disorder: A Cross-Sectional Survey

LOGIN

REGISTER


Forgot your login? GET HELP

Objective: In this study, we explored the comfort level of and influences upon primary care clinicians in prescribing psychotropic medications to patients with bipolar disorder.

Method: In May 2010, we mailed a 1-page survey to a cross-sectional sample of 143 primary care clinicians in 2 large practice groups asking physicians to specify whether they prescribe psychotropic medications to bipolar patients, describe their comfort level in prescribing psychotropic medications to this patient group, indicate possible influences on their willingness to prescribe psychotropics for bipolar patients, and provide their opinion on whether or not primary care physicians should prescribe these medications to bipolar patients.

Results: Of the 38 respondents (response rate of 26.6%), nearly two-thirds (n = 24) reported the prescription of psychotropic medications to bipolar patients in their practices. For questions related to bipolar diagnosis and treatment, the means of all responses trended toward uncomfortable, with the prescription of antipsychotics being indicated as the aspect with which respondents were least comfortable. As for factors influencing a decision to prescribe, the restricted availability of mental health services was rated as most influential. With regard to the perceived role of primary care clinicians in prescribing psychotropic medications to bipolar patients, no respondent indicated that primary care physicians should “always” prescribe, whereas approximately two-thirds indicated “rarely” or “on occasion.”

Conclusions: While a majority of primary care clinicians prescribe psychotropic medications to patients with bipolar disorder, a majority are also understandably hesitant to do so and appear to do so in particular circumstances, most likely related to the restricted availability of mental health services.

Prim Care Companion CNS Disord 2011;13(2):e1–e4

Submitted: August 19, 2010; accepted October 20, 2010.

Published online: March 31, 2011 (doi:10.4088/PCC.10m01072).

Corresponding author: Randy A. Sansone, MD, Sycamore Primary Care Center, 2115 Leiter Rd, Miamisburg, OH 45342 (Randy.sansone@khnetwork.org).

Prim Care Companion CNS Disord 2011;13(2):e1-e4

https://doi.org/10.4088/PCC.10m01072