Psychopharmacology

Expert Q&A

Medications for Depression

Topics: adolescents | Child Psychiatry | children | Depression | pediatric | Psychopharmacology | teens | treatment

CCPR: You recently published an article reviewing the ­placebo-controlled trials done over the past 10 years on depression in kids (Ignaszewski MJ and Waslick B, J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol 2018;Epub ahead of print). Can you tell us about your findings? Dr. Ignaszewski: Historically, there’s been a lot of controversy about the effectiveness of a

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Research Update

Gabapentin Enacarbil XR Efficacy Less Than Expected for AUD

Topics: Addiction | Addiction Treatment | Alcohol | Alcohol use disorder | Alcoholism | Clinical practice | extended-release | Medication | Novel Medications | Pharmacology | Psychopharmacology | Research Update

Review of: Falk DE et al, Alcohol Clin Exp Res 2019;43(1):158–169 Gabapentin enacarbil extended-release (GE-XR) (Horizant) is an extended-release version of gabapentin. GE-XR is a prodrug, meaning that once ingested it is metabolized into gabapentin. It is currently approved for treatment of postherpetic neuralgia and restless legs syndrome. It di

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Article

Mirtazapine Augmentation: Running Low on Rocket Fuel

Topics: Antidepressant Augmentation | Antidepressants | Depression | Depressive Disorder | Mirtazapine | Pharmacology | Pharmacology Tips | Psychopharm Myths | Psychopharmacology | Psychopharmacology Tips | SSRIs | Treatment-Resistant Depression | Venlafaxine

Adding mirtazapine (Remeron) to a serotonergic antidepressant is a popular augmentation strategy. When added to venlafaxine, the combo was thought to possess a particularly potent synergy that Stephen Stahl called “California Rocket Fuel.” However, the strategy has failed in a handful of new studies, some of them much larger than the original data.

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Article

A New Contraindication for Ambien and the Z-Hypnotics

Topics: FDA Warnings | Hypnotics | Insomnia | News of Note | Practice Tools and Tips | Psychopharmacology | Psychopharmacology Tips | Sleep

“Complex sleep behavior” is a euphemism for various problems that can happen after ingesting a sleeping pill. They range from cooking and emailing to driving a car or even sexual assault, all done in an amnestic state that is not recalled upon awakening. In 2007 the FDA placed warnings about these behaviors on all medications approved for insomnia,

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Ask The Editor

Is Paxil the Best SSRI for Anxiety?

Topics: Antidepressants | Anxiety | Anxiety Disorder | Generalized Anxiety Disorder | Panic Disorder | Pharmaceutical Industry | Pharmacology | Pharmacology Tips | Practice Tools and Tips | Psychopharm Myths | Psychopharmacology | Psychopharmacology Tips | PTSD | Social Anxiety Disorder | SSRIs

Dear Dr. Aiken: Your review of Paxil’s risks in the May issue failed to mention a benefit that’s unique to this drug. Isn’t it the best SSRI for anxiety? Dr. Aiken: Paroxetine’s (Paxil’s) reputation as the anti-anxiety SSRI got off to a running start. It was first launched for panic disorder in 1996, two years before its approval for depres

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Article

l-Methylfolate for Depression: Costly Mistake or Good Thinking?

Topics: Antidepressants | CAM Treatments | Deplin | Depression | Depressive Disorder | Folate | Folic Acid | l-methylfolate | methylfolate | Natural Medications | Nutrition | Pharmacology | Pharmacology Tips | Psychopharmacology | Psychopharmacology Tips | Treatment-Resistant Depression

Folate (Vitamin B9) has a long track record as a low-cost, low-risk augmentation strategy in depression. It’s also available in a more expensive form, l-methylfolate (Deplin), that promises better results but at a premium price. So, is the cost worth it? Folate pathwaysFolate (the natural form of folic acid) is a B vitamin that’s important in psych

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News of Note

A New Treatment for Bipolar Depression

Topics: Antipsychotics | Atypical Antipsychotics | Bipolar Depression | Bipolar Disorder | Depression | News of Note | Pharmacology | Psychopharmacology

On May 28, 2019, cariprazine (Vraylar) became the fourth atypical antipsychotic to receive FDA approval for bipolar depression. The approval was based on two randomized controlled trials involving 1,051 patients and lasting 6–8 weeks. These studies grouped patients into fixed doses from 0.75–3 mg/day. The sweet spot seems to be 1.5 mg/day, which was

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Research Update

Lithium in Geriatric Depression

Topics: Depression | Depressive Disorder | Geriatric Psychiatry | Lithium | Psychopharmacology | Treatment-Resistant Depression

REVIEW OF: Buspavanich P et al, J ­Affect Disord 2019;251:136–140 TYPE OF STUDY: Prospective, non-randomized controlled trial Augmentation with lithium has long been established as an effective strategy for refractory depression, but how does it fare in geriatric patients? There is a dearth of evidence on lithium in the geriatric population, which

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Article

Evaluating the Mortality Risks of Antipsychotics in Children and Youths

Topics: Antipsychotics | Psychopharmacology | Schizophrenia

There are reports of increased mortality from antipsychotics in older adults. Now, we have a paper showing increased mortality in children, adolescents, and young adults aged 5–24 years. Given the frequent use, both on- and off-label, of antipsychotics, does this change how we use them? And if so, how? What we already know In 2005, the FDA added a

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Article

Prescription CBD Is Available, But Are We Ready to Use It?

Topics: Anxiety | Cannabidiol | Psychopharmacology

Your patient comes in with a new medication on his list: CBD oil. He started taking it for anxiety and wants to know if it’s safe. You hedge, explaining that there is limited information available on unregulated products, but the patient is persistent. He says CBD oil is available as a prescription, and wonders if you could write one for it. Cannab

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Expert Q&A

Deprescribing Medication

Topics: Deprescribing | Psychopharmacology

There’s no shortage of information on prescribing medications, but when and how do we stop them? The Bruyere Deprescribing Guidelines Research Team is a group of clinicians and researchers who’ve set out to answer those questions. They’ve recently published 5 deprescribing guidelines, 3 of which are for psychiatric medications: benzodiazepines, an

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Article

Ask the Editor: Three Significant Food Interactions with ADHD Medications

Topics: Free Articles | Practice Tools and Tips | Psychopharmacology

Each month, Editor-in-Chief Chris Aiken, MD, gives advice on a different practice challenge. If you have a question you’d like Dr. Aiken to answer, please send an email to AskTheEditor@thecarlatreport.com. Dr. Aiken won’t be able to answer all questions received but will pick one each month that is of general interest. Dear Dr. Aiken: Patients of

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Article

Treating Chronic Pain When There’s Addiction: A Primer

Topics: Addiction | Practice Tools and Tips | Psychopharmacology | Registered Articles

It can be challenging to manage chronic pain, even more so when our patients suffer from addiction. We can find ourselves walking a tightrope between the risk of relapse due to the inadequate treatment of pain, and the risk of relapse due to the use of opioid analgesics. Since our mission is to minimize suffering and optimize functioning while helpin

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Expert Q&A

Using Caution While Prescribing Opioids for Pain

Topics: Addiction | Practice Tools and Tips | Psychopharmacology

CATR: I know you’ve done a lot of research around overdose deaths, both intentional and unintentional, and how this may help psychiatrists more wisely prescribe opioids for pain. Can you start by giving us a little more background on that? Dr. Bohnert: Sure. I’ll start by talking a little about overdose deaths. The study that we did in the VA wit

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Article

Update on Medications for PTSD

Topics: Psychopharmacology | PTSD

Every five years or so, we do an update on PTSD treatments; the most recent was our August 2011 issue of TCPR, in which we declared that psychotherapy was the gold standard for treatment. Recently, the US Veterans Health Administration (VA) and the Department of Defense made this their official position. In their just-published 2017 treatment guidelines

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Article

Diagnosing and Treating Borderline Personality Disorder

Topics: Personality Disorders | Psychopharmacology

By and large, psychiatrists aren’t terribly comfortable when it comes to diagnosing and treating borderline personality disorder (BPD). The clinical picture is challenging, and the stigma attached to the term makes it difficult for patients to hear—in fact, many ­clinicians end up not making the diagnosis at all! But BPD, characterized by DSM-5 as

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News of Note

FDA Approves First Drug to Treat Tardive Dyskinesia

Topics: News of Note | Psychopharmacology

On April 11, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Ingrezza (valbenazine) for the treatment of tardive dyskinesia (TD), a disabling movement disorder that afflicts 10%–20% of people on chronic antipsychotic ­medication. The approval was based on a clinical trial in which 234 patients with moderate to severe TD were randomly assigned to a

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Research Update

Which Are the Most Dangerous Antidepressants?

Topics: Antidepressants | Psychopharmacology | Research Updates

Review of: Nelson JC and Spyker DA, Am J Psychiatry 2017;174(5):438–450 Study type: Retrospective cohort We often prescribe antidepressants to patients who are suicidal, and unfortunately, some people use these very medications to try to kill themselves. It’s been known for some time that tricyclic antidepressants are among the most toxic in

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Research Update

Can a One-Week Naltrexone Detox Reduce Outpatient Opioid Relapse Rates?

Topics: Addiction | Psychopharmacology | Research Update | Substance Abuse

Review of: Sullivan M et al, Am J Psychiatry 2017; Epub ahead of print. Study Type: Randomized, open-label, parallel-groups trial Naltrexone is an opioid blocker that is FDA-approved for the treatment of alcoholism. However, it is also effective off-label for treating opioid use disorder. The medication comes in two forms: an oral pill (brand name

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Article

From the Street to the Prescription Pad: Psychedelics Return to Psychiatry

Topics: Practice Tools and Tips | Psychopharmacology | Psychotherapy | Substance Abuse

You’ve been treating Bob, a 37-year-old combat veteran with refractory PTSD, for the past 15 years. After two psychotherapists gave him a club drug, he returns to your office reporting he’s been symptom-free for two months. Jean, a 67-year-old woman you’ve been treating for anxiety associated with stage 4 breast cancer, tells you that after ­inge

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