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

How to Treat Tardive Dyskinesia

Topics: Amantadine | Austedo | Deutetrabenazine | Ginkgo | Ingrezza | Keppra | Levetiracetam | Melatonin | Psychopharmacology | Psychopharmacology Tips | Side Effects | Tardive dyskinesia | Valbenazine | Vitamin B6 | Vitamin E | VMAT2 Inhibitors

Your patient is a 56-year-old male who recovered from a difficult-to-treat depression 4 years ago after quetiapine was added to his citalopram. As he talks, you notice that his fingers are tapping in a rapid, random pattern and his feet are wiggling. When questioned, he explains, “I just do that when I’m anxious.” Should you stop the antipsychotic

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Article

Antipsychotic Maintenance: How Long is Enough?

Topics: Antidepressant Augmentation | Antidepressants | Antipsychotics | Bipolar Disorder | Deprescribing | Depression | Depressive Disorder | Mania | Metabolic syndrome | Mood Stabilizers | olanzapine | Psychopharmacology | Psychopharmacology Tips | Risperidone | Side Effects | Tardive dyskinesia

Your 58-year-old patient started risperidone to augment lithium 2 years ago. It got her out of a severe mania, and she has stayed well since then. Now she’s worried about long-term risks and wondering if it’s time to come off. Augmentation with an atypical antipsychotic may offer rapid relief from mania and depression, but antipsychotics’ potenti

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Clinical Update

Trazodone: The Forgotten Antidepressant

Topics: Antidepressants | Depression | Depressive Disorder | extended-release | Pharmacology Tips | Psychopharmacology | Psychopharmacology Tips | Trazodone

If your practice is anything like mine, trazodone is your go-to hypnotic. As an antidepressant, it’s an afterthought, dismissed as ineffective or intolerable since its release in 1981. Four decades and over 200 clinical trials later, it’s a good time to see if we’ve missed any opportunities in this forgotten antidepressant. How trazodone worksTra

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How to Select an SSRI

Topics: Antidepressants | Citalopram | Escitalopram | Fluoxetine | Prozac | Psychopharmacology | Psychotropic medication | Serotonin Specific Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) | Sertraline | SSRIs

On March 14, 2012, Lexapro became the last SSRI to lose its patent, closing the book on a quarter century of science and marketing that changed and sometimes confused the way we think about antidepressants. Now that the unpublished studies have come to light and the incentives to favor one drug over another have dried up, it’s a good time to take a so

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Clinical Update

Keeping Up With Trintellix

Topics: Antidepressants | Cognition | Cognitive Decline | Negative Symptoms | Pharmacology | Pharmacology Tips | Psychopharmacology | Psychopharmacology Tips | Sexual Dysfunction | Sexual Side Effects | Trintellix | Vortioxetine

In a previous report (TCPR, Feb 2019), we summarized the data on cognitive effects associated with vortioxetine (Trintellix). We found that vortioxetine produced impressive results for cognition based on improvement on the Digital Symbol Substitution Test (DSST), and gave Takeda Pharmaceuticals high marks for choosing to compare vortioxetine to duloxeti

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Research Update

Mood Stabilizers: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt Them

Topics: Antipsychotics | Aripiprazole | Asenapine | Bipolar Depression | Bipolar Disorder | Bipolar II | Cariprazine | Lithium | Lurasidone | Mania | Medication adherence | Mood Stabilizers | olanzapine | Oxcarbazepine | Pharmacology | Pharmacology Tips | Psychopharmacology | Psychopharmacology Tips | Quetiapine | Research | Research Update | Risperidone | safety | Saphris | Side Effects

Review of: Bai Y et al, J Clin Psychopharmacol 2020;40(2):167–179 STUDY TYPE: Combined meta-analysis and literature review of placebo-controlled trials Medication adherence is an ongoing struggle in bipolar disorder, and it’s compounded by the fact that our patients often don’t advertise their ­non-adherence. While numbers vary, reviews general

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Research Update

Guanfacine ER for Adults With ADHD?

Topics: ADHD | Alpha Agonists | attention | Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder | Guanfacine | Pharmacology | Psychopharmacology | Research Update

Review of: Iwanami A et al, J Clin Psychiatry 2020;81(3):19m12979 Study type: Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial Stimulants are rapid, safe, and effective first-line treatments for many adults with ADHD. However, there are inevitably patients for whom stimulants are not indicated or tolerated—those with arrhythmias or stimulant use d

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Expert Q&A

Assessing and Treating Traumatic Brain Injury

Topics: Bipolar Disorder | Bipolar II | Coronavirus | COVID19 | Lithium | Mania | Mood Stabilizers | Pharmacology | Pharmacology Tips | Psychopharmacology | Psychopharmacology Tips

TCPR: Lithium has been called the gold-standard treatment in bipolar disorder. Why is it not used more often?Dr. Rybakowski: That is a paradox. On the one hand, lithium is accepted as a first-line treatment for bipolar disorder, but it is also greatly underutilized. And I think there are two main reasons. One is aggressive promotion of branded mood stab

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Research Update

Two Augmentation Strategies Compared in Bipolar I

Topics: Bipolar Disorder | Lithium | Mania | Mood Stabilizers | Oxcarbazepine | Pharmacology | Psychopharmacology | Research | Research Update

Review of: Missio G et al, Trials 2019;20(1):608 STUDY TYPE: Randomized, open-label controlled trial It’s rare to see full recovery in bipolar I disorder with a single medicine, so we often depend on some combination of mood stabilizers and/or antipsychotics. Even then, weight gain and metabolic problems are deal-breakers. Some experts favor the c

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Clinical Update

The Modafinils in Bipolar Depression

Topics: ArModafinil | Bipolar Disorder | Borderline Personality Disorder | BPD | Modafinil | Novel Medications | Nuvigil | Personality Disorders | Provigil | Psychopharmacology

Your patient has recovered enough from bipolar depression to leave the hospital, but not enough to return to work. He is inactive, he can’t concentrate, and it takes him 4 hours to wake up in the morning. What can you add to his regimen of lithium, lamotrigine, and lurasidone? Modafinil (Provigil) and armodafinil (Nuvigil) are wakefulness-promoting

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Clinical Update

How to Choose an Antipsychotic in Schizophrenia

Topics: Antipsychotics | Aripiprazole | Cariprazine | Clozapine | Negative Symptoms | olanzapine | Psychopharmacology | Psychopharmacology Tips | Psychosis | Risperidone | Schizophrenia

It’s been over a decade since the CATIE trial changed the way we look at antipsychotic drugs. Since then, the number of second-generation antipsychotics has about doubled, and the number of clinical trials has risen even more. Antipsychotics are not all the same, though, and when it comes to schizophrenia, a few stand out in ways that can help you fin

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Expert Q&A

The Psychopharmacology Algorithm Project

Topics: Antidepressant Augmentation | Antidepressants | Antipsychotics | Bipolar Disorder | Bupropion | Depression | Depressive Disorder | Escitalopram | Lamictal | Lamotrigine | Lithium | Mood Stabilizers | olanzapine | Psychopharmacology | Psychopharmacology Tips | Wellbutrin

TCPR: What would be the biggest change in practice if psychiatrists followed your algorithms?Dr. Osser: One area is bipolar depression. This is a disorder where there is an exceptionally large deviation between what the evidence says and what people are doing, especially when it comes to antidepressants. They are still being used rampantly, even in pati

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Clinical Update

Oxcarbazepine: Close, but no Cigar

Topics: Bipolar Disorder | Carbamazepine | Free Articles | Mania | Mood Stabilizers | Oxcarbazepine | Pharmacology | Psychopharm Myths | Psychopharmacology

You are selecting a mood stabilizer for a 29-year-old woman with mania. If it works, she’ll need to take it long term, but with adherence rates hovering around 50% in this illness, that’s not a likely prospect. The FDA-approved options are not very high on tolerability, but what about oxcarbazepine? Oxcarbazepine (Trileptal) is often used in bipo

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News of Note

Lumateperone and lemborexant

Topics: Antipsychotics | Belsomra | Caplyta | Dayvigo | Hypnotics | Lemborexant | Lumateperone | News of Note | Orexin | Pharmacology | Psychopharmacology | Suvorexant

Two new psychiatric medications were approved in the final days of 2019. One is the first of its kind, an antipsychotic with minimal dopaminergic blockade: lumateperone (Caplyta). The other is lemborexant (Dayvigo), a variation on the hypnotic suvorexant (Belsomra). Lumateperone (Caplyta)Though classified as an atypical antipsychotic, lumateperone is u

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Highlights

Highlight From This Issue

Topics: Bipolar Disorder | Carbamazepine | Mania | Mood Stabilizers | Oxcarbazepine | Pharmacology | Psychopharm Myths | Psychopharmacology

In bipolar disorder, oxcarbazepine is slightly better tolerated than carbamazepine, but less effective. While its medical risks are different, they are by no means safer than carbamazepine’s. Its drug interactions can be a problem as well. On average, higher doses of second-generation antidepressants do not bring greater recoveries in major depress

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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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