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Using Treatment Guidelines

One way to enhance the quality of our care of patients is to learn and implement expert practice guidelines. But there are some problems. First of all, there are so many guidelines out there that it is hard to know which ones to learn. A related issue is that some guidelines are funded by drug companies standing to benefit financially from the recommendations. This doesn't necessarily mean the guidelines are biased, but it has caused quite a bit of controversy. For example, the widely disseminated Texas Medical Algorithm Project (TMAP), which publishes treatment algorithms for depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia, and which is partly funded by drug companies, has come under fire in its home state. The Texas Attorney General accused Janssen of using TMAP as a marketing tool for Risperdal, and recently ordered that the use of the guidelines for children be halted in the state.

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