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Concept: Psychiatric medication


This article describes epidemiologic evidence concerning risk of gun violence and suicide linked to psychiatric disorders, in contrast to media-fueled public perceptions of the dangerousness of mentally ill individuals, and evaluates effectiveness of policies and laws designed to prevent firearms injury and mortality associated with serious mental illnesses and substance use disorders.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Mental health, Mental disorder, Schizophrenia, Psychiatry, Mental illness, Psychiatric medication, Cross-cultural psychiatry


Objective To investigate the association between in utero exposure to antidepressants and risk of psychiatric disorders.Design Population based cohort study.Setting Danish national registers.Participants 905 383 liveborn singletons born during 1998-2012 in Denmark and followed from birth until July 2014, death, emigration, or date of first psychiatric diagnosis, whichever came first. The children were followed for a maximum of 16.5 years and contributed 8.1×10(6) person years at risk.Exposures for observational studies Children were categorised into four groups according to maternal antidepressant use within two years before and during pregnancy: unexposed, antidepressant discontinuation (use before but not during pregnancy), antidepressant continuation (use both before and during pregnancy), and new user (use only during pregnancy).Main outcome measure First psychiatric diagnosis in children, defined as first day of inpatient or outpatient treatment for psychiatric disorders. Hazard ratios of psychiatric disorders were estimated using Cox regression models.Results Overall, psychiatric disorders were diagnosed in 32 400 children. The adjusted 15 year cumulative incidence of psychiatric disorders was 8.0% (95% confidence interval 7.9% to 8.2%) in the unexposed group, 11.5% (10.3% to 12.9%) in the antidepressant discontinuation group, 13.6% (11.3% to 16.3%) in the continuation group, and 14.5% (10.5% to 19.8%) in the new user group. The antidepressant continuation group had an increased risk of psychiatric disorders (hazard ratio 1.27, 1.17 to 1.38), compared with the discontinuation group.Conclusions In utero exposure to antidepressants was associated with increased risk of psychiatric disorders. The association may be attributable to the severity of underlying maternal disorders in combination with antidepressant exposure in utero. The findings suggest that focusing solely on a single psychiatric disorder among offspring in studies of in utero antidepressant exposure may be too restrictive.

Concepts: Psychology, Mental health, Mental disorder, Psychiatry, Psychiatric hospital, Psychiatric medication, Cross-cultural psychiatry, Moral treatment


Objectives To study the association between maternal use of antidepressants during pregnancy and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in offspring.Design Observational prospective cohort study with regression methods, propensity score matching, sibling controls, and negative control comparison.Setting Stockholm County, Sweden.Participants 254 610 individuals aged 4-17, including 5378 with autism, living in Stockholm County in 2001-11 who were born to mothers who did not take antidepressants and did not have any psychiatric disorder, mothers who took antidepressants during pregnancy, or mothers with psychiatric disorders who did not take antidepressants during pregnancy. Maternal antidepressant use was recorded during first antenatal interview or determined from prescription records.Main outcome measure Offspring diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder, with and without intellectual disability.Results Of the 3342 children exposed to antidepressants during pregnancy, 4.1% (n=136) had a diagnosis of autism compared with a 2.9% prevalence (n=353) in 12 325 children not exposed to antidepressants whose mothers had a history of a psychiatric disorder (adjusted odds ratio 1.45, 95% confidence interval 1.13 to 1.85). Propensity score analysis led to similar results. The results of a sibling control analysis were in the same direction, although with wider confidence intervals. In a negative control comparison, there was no evidence of any increased risk of autism in children whose fathers were prescribed antidepressants during the mothers' pregnancy (1.13, 0.68 to 1.88). In all analyses, the risk increase concerned only autism without intellectual disability.Conclusions The association between antidepressant use during pregnancy and autism, particularly autism without intellectual disability, might not solely be a byproduct of confounding. Study of the potential underlying biological mechanisms could help the understanding of modifiable mechanisms in the aetiology of autism. Importantly, the absolute risk of autism was small, and, hypothetically, if no pregnant women took antidepressants, the number of cases that could potentially be prevented would be small.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Autism, Mental disorder, Asperger syndrome, Autism spectrum, Propensity score, Statistical terminology, Psychiatric medication


Objective To assess the potential association between prenatal use of antidepressants and the risk of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in offspring.Design Population based cohort study.Setting Data from the Hong Kong population based electronic medical records on the Clinical Data Analysis and Reporting System.Participants 190 618 children born in Hong Kong public hospitals between January 2001 and December 2009 and followed-up to December 2015.Main outcome measure Hazard ratio of maternal antidepressant use during pregnancy and ADHD in children aged 6 to 14 years, with an average follow-up time of 9.3 years (range 7.4-11.0 years).Results Among 190 618 children, 1252 had a mother who used prenatal antidepressants. 5659 children (3.0%) were given a diagnosis of ADHD or received treatment for ADHD. The crude hazard ratio of maternal antidepressant use during pregnancy was 2.26 (P<0.01) compared with non-use. After adjustment for potential confounding factors, including maternal psychiatric disorders and use of other psychiatric drugs, the adjusted hazard ratio was reduced to 1.39 (95% confidence interval 1.07 to 1.82, P=0.01). Likewise, similar results were observed when comparing children of mothers who had used antidepressants before pregnancy with those who were never users (1.76, 1.36 to 2.30, P<0.01). The risk of ADHD in the children of mothers with psychiatric disorders was higher compared with the children of mothers without psychiatric disorders even if the mothers had never used antidepressants (1.84, 1.54 to 2.18, P<0.01). All sensitivity analyses yielded similar results. Sibling matched analysis identified no significant difference in risk of ADHD in siblings exposed to antidepressants during gestation and those not exposed during gestation (0.54, 0.17 to 1.74, P=0.30).Conclusions The findings suggest that the association between prenatal use of antidepressants and risk of ADHD in offspring can be partially explained by confounding by indication of antidepressants. If there is a causal association, the size of the effect is probably smaller than that reported previously.

Concepts: Mental disorder, Antidepressant, Psychiatry, Mother, Psychiatric medication, Hong Kong


BACKGROUND: Religious participation or belief may predict better mental health but most research is American and measures of spirituality are often conflated with well-being. AIMS: To examine associations between a spiritual or religious understanding of life and psychiatric symptoms and diagnoses. METHOD: We analysed data collected from interviews with 7403 people who participated in the third National Psychiatric Morbidity Study in England. RESULTS: Of the participants 35% had a religious understanding of life, 19% were spiritual but not religious and 46% were neither religious nor spiritual. Religious people were similar to those who were neither religious nor spiritual with regard to the prevalence of mental disorders, except that the former were less likely to have ever used drugs (odds ratio (OR) = 0.73, 95% CI 0.60-0.88) or be a hazardous drinker (OR = 0.81, 95% CI 0.69-0.96). Spiritual people were more likely than those who were neither religious nor spiritual to have ever used (OR = 1.24, 95% CI 1.02-1.49) or be dependent on drugs (OR = 1.77, 95% CI 1.20-2.61), and to have abnormal eating attitudes (OR = 1.46, 95% CI 1.10-1.94), generalised anxiety disorder (OR = 1.50, 95% CI 1.09-2.06), any phobia (OR = 1.72, 95% CI 1.07-2.77) or any neurotic disorder (OR = 1.37, 95% CI 1.12-1.68). They were also more likely to be taking psychotropic medication (OR = 1.40, 95% CI 1.05-1.86). CONCLUSIONS: People who have a spiritual understanding of life in the absence of a religious framework are vulnerable to mental disorder.

Concepts: Mental health, Mental disorder, Abnormal psychology, Psychiatry, Generalized anxiety disorder, Psychiatric medication, Insomnia, Spirituality


BACKGROUND:: Academic medical institutions have instituted conflict of interest (COI) policies in response to concerns about pharmaceutical industry influence. OBJECTIVE:: To determine whether exposure to COI policies during psychiatry residency training affects psychiatrists' antidepressant prescribing patterns after graduation. RESEARCH DESIGN:: We used 2009 physician-level national administrative prescribing data from IMS Health for 1652 psychiatrists from 162 residency programs. We used difference-in-differences estimation to compare antidepressant prescribing based on graduation before (2001) or after (2008) COI policy adoption across residency program groups with maximally, moderately, and minimally restrictive COI policies. The primary outcomes were shares of psychiatrists' prescribing of heavily promoted, brand reformulated, and brand antidepressants. RESULTS:: Rates of prescribing heavily promoted, brand reformulated, and brand antidepressants in 2009 were lower among post-COI graduates than pre-COI graduates at all levels of COI restrictiveness. However, differences between pre-COI and post-COI graduates' prescribing of heavily promoted medications were larger for maximally restrictive programs than both minimally restrictive programs [-4.3 percentage points; 95% confidence interval (CI), -7.0, -1.6] and moderately restrictive programs (-3.6 percentage points; 95% CI, -6.2, -1.1). The difference in prescribing reformulations was larger for maximally restrictive programs than minimally restrictive programs (-3.0 percentage points; 95% CI, -5.3, -0.7). Results were consistent for prescribing of brand drugs. CONCLUSIONS:: This study provides the first empirical evidence of the effects of COI policies. Our results suggest that COI policies can help inoculate physicians against persuasive aspects of pharmaceutical promotion. Further research should assess whether these policies affect other drug classes and physician specialties similarly.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Medicine, Physician, Pharmaceutical industry, Medical school, Psychiatric medication, Internal medicine, IMS Health



With the emergence of knowledge implicating the human gut microbiome in the development and regulation of several physiological systems, evidence has accumulated to suggest a role for the gut microbiome in psychiatric conditions and drug response. A complex relationship between the enteric nervous system, the gut microbiota and the central nervous system has been described which allows for the microbiota to influence and respond to a variety of behaviors and psychiatric conditions. Additionally, the use of pharmaceuticals may interact with and alter the microbiota to potentially contribute to adverse effects of the drug. The gut microbiota has been described in several psychiatric disorders including depression and anxiety, but only a few reports have discussed the role of the microbiome in schizophrenia. The following review examines the evidence surrounding the gut microbiota in behavior and psychiatric illness, the role of the microbiota in schizophrenia and the potential for antipsychotics to alter the gut microbiota and promote adverse metabolic events.

Concepts: Central nervous system, Nervous system, Psychology, Mental disorder, Schizophrenia, Psychiatry, Dopamine, Psychiatric medication


Auditory verbal hallucinations (AVH) are a frequently occurring phenomenon in the general population and are considered a psychotic symptom when presented in the context of a psychiatric disorder. Neuroimaging literature has shown that AVH are subserved by a variety of alterations in brain structure and function, which primarily concentrate around brain regions associated with the processing of auditory verbal stimuli and with executive control functions. However, the direction of association between AVH and brain function remains equivocal in certain research areas and needs to be carefully reviewed and interpreted. When AVH have significant impact on daily functioning, several efficacious treatments can be attempted such as antipsychotic medication, brain stimulation and cognitive-behavioural therapy. Interestingly, the neural correlates of these treatments largely overlap with brain regions involved in AVH. This suggests that the efficacy of treatment corresponds to a normalization of AVH-related brain activity. In this selected review, we give a compact yet comprehensive overview of the structural and functional neuroimaging literature on AVH, with a special focus on the neural correlates of efficacious treatment.

Concepts: Brain, Neuroscience, Schizophrenia, Psychosis, Psychiatry, Dopamine, Functional magnetic resonance imaging, Psychiatric medication


Many women diagnosed with varying psychiatric disorders take antipsychotic medications during pregnancy. The safety of antipsychotic medications in pregnancy is largely unknown.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Childbirth, Infant, Fetus, Breastfeeding, Mental disorder, Psychiatry, Psychiatric medication