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Pharmacologic Therapy for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Review of Prescriptions and Potential Drug-Drug Interactions in a Military Cohort

Kara L. Jablonski, PharmD, BCPS; Maria D. Devore, MS; Margaret A. Ryan, MD, MPH; Emily L. Streeter, PsyD, MPH, CPH; Jerlyn C. Tolentino, BA; Angelica A. Klinski, PharmD; and Nahed Bahlawan, PharmD, BCACP

Published: December 3, 2015

Article Abstract

Objective: To describe outpatient prescription treatment for active-duty military members with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Medical records were screened for drug-drug interactions with PTSD-related medications and for adverse drug events.

Method: A retrospective chart review was conducted of the medical records of active-duty service members aged 18 to 65 years who had a diagnosis of PTSD (ICD-9 criteria) and received psychiatric treatment at Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton, Camp Pendleton, California, between October 1, 2010, and October 31, 2010. Prescription medication treatment over a 6-month period (October 1, 2010, through March 31, 2011) was reviewed.

Results: Among 275 patients, 243 (88.4%) had at least 1 prescription dispensed and 219 (79.6%) had at least 1 PTSD-related medication dispensed. More than 1 PTSD-related medication was dispensed to 153 (55.6%) patients. The most common medication classes dispensed were selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) (35.1%), novel antidepressants (15.6%), and anticonvulsants (15.0%). The most frequently dispensed PTSD-related medications were zolpidem: 149 (9.8%), sertraline: 147 (9.7%), gabapentin: 134 (8.8%), prazosin: 111 (7.3%), and trazodone: 110 (7.2%). In the subgroup of 219 patients who received PTSD-related medications, overlapping periods of treatment between an SSRI and another PTSD-related medication occurred in 58 (26.5%) patients. Potential drug-drug interactions with this combination involved 44 (20.1%) patients; no adverse drug events were reported. Among these 44 patients, 55 different potential drug-drug interactions were identified.

Conclusions: Patients receiving medications for PTSD are frequently treated with SSRIs or SNRIs and are likely to be prescribed more than 1 PTSD-related medication.

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