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Concept: Psychiatric medication


The primary goal of this article is to critically discuss the syndromic overlap that exists between early behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD)-the most common clinical syndrome associated with frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD)-and several primary psychiatric disorders. We begin by summarising the current state of knowledge regarding FTLD, including the recent discovery of FTLD-causative genetic mutations. Clinicopathological correlations in FTLD are subsequently discussed, while emphasising that clinical syndromes of FTD are dictated by the distribution of FTLD pathology in the brain. We then review a large number of cases with suspected and confirmed bvFTD that had previously been diagnosed with a primary psychiatric disorder. The clinical and neuroscientific implications of this overlap are discussed, focusing on the importance of early diagnosis for clinical and therapeutic reasons. We propose that largely due to the paucity of biomarkers for primary psychiatric disorders, and the limited use of FTLD-related biomarkers by psychiatrists at present, it is very difficult to separate patients with early bvFTD from those with primary psychiatric disorders based on clinical grounds. Furthermore, specific limitations of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) 5 criteria for bvFTD may inadvertently discourage recognition of bvFTD in mental health settings. Clinically, more research is needed to develop tools that allow early differentiation of bvFTD from primary psychiatric disease, as bvFTD therapies will likely be most effective in the earliest stages of disease. From a neuroscience perspective, we argue that bvFTD provides an excellent paradigm for investigating the neural basis of psychiatric disorders.

Concepts: Psychology, Mental health, Mental disorder, Psychiatry, Frontotemporal dementia, Psychiatric medication, Cross-cultural psychiatry, Frontotemporal lobar degeneration


Patients who recover from an acute episode of psychosis are frequently prescribed prophylactic antipsychotics for many years, especially if they are diagnosed as having schizophrenia. However, there is a dearth of evidence concerning the long-term effectiveness of this practice, and growing concern over the cumulative effects of antipsychotics on physical health and brain structure. Although controversy remains concerning some of the data, the wise psychiatrist should regularly review the benefit to each patient of continuing prophylactic antipsychotics against the risk of side-effects and loss of effectiveness through the development of supersensitivity of the dopamine D2 receptor. Psychiatrists should work with their patients to slowly reduce the antipsychotic to the lowest dose that prevents the return of distressing symptoms. Up to 40% of those whose psychosis remits after a first episode should be able to achieve a good outcome in the long term either with no antipsychotic medication or with a very low dose.

Concepts: Dopamine receptor, Antipsychotic, Schizophrenia, Psychosis, Psychiatry, Dopamine, Dopamine receptor D2, Psychiatric medication


This paper is something of a patchwork, incorporating many issues that have intrigued me during 34 years of research. I have included the importance of maintaining a solid base in clinical work, alongside research activities, and being alert to the possibility of a somatic condition contributing to psychiatric symptoms. I stress the value of careful observation of patients, their response to treatments and reasons for dropping out. In addition, I have included 14 more lessons, learned from my experience of research, which I hope will be of use to those readers who aspire to become researchers.

Concepts: Scientific method, Psychology, Research, Learning, Clinical psychology, Psychiatry, Psychiatric medication, Psychiatrist


Concerns relating to increased use of psychotropic medication contrast with those of under-treatment and under-recognition of common mental disorders in children and young people (CYP) across developed countries. Little is known about the indications recorded for antidepressant prescribing in primary care in CYP.

Concepts: United States, United Kingdom, Mental disorder, Psychiatric medication


Longitudinal trends in the dispensing of antidepressant, antipsychotic and ADHD medications from 2009-2012 were examined according to age and gender of patient and prescriber speciality. Of particular interest were changing trends in the prescription of psychotropic medications to children, adolescents and young adults.

Concepts: Psychiatric medication


To investigate the pattern and trends of use of antipsychotics, antidepressants, hypnotics and anxiolytics in Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias and in patients treated with antidementia medications.

Concepts: Alzheimer's disease, Drug, Antidepressant, Antipsychotic, Bipolar disorder, Benzodiazepine, Psychiatric medication, Diphenhydramine



A digital medicine system (DMS) has been developed to measure and report adherence to an atypical antipsychotic, aripiprazole, in psychiatric patients. The DMS consists of 3 components: ingestible sensor embedded in a medication tablet, wearable sensor, and secure mobile and cloud-based applications. An umbrella study protocol was designed to rapidly assess the technical performance and safety of the DMS in multiple substudies to guide the technology development.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Medicine, Neuroscience, Doctor-patient relationship, Atypical antipsychotic, Psychiatry, Psychiatric medication, Sigmund Freud


Corrado Barbui and Irene Bighelli question the current rules governing registration of new medicines in Europe, using the example of psychiatric drugs, and argue that the concept of absolute efficacy should be replaced by the concept of added value whereby evidence from studies comparing a new product with an active comparator should guide the drug approval process. Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Drug, Value added, Pharmaceutical drug, Psychiatry, Psychiatric medication


Expansion of early intervention services to identify and clinically manage at-risk mental state for psychosis has been recently commissioned by NHS England. Although this is a welcome development for preventive psychiatry, further clarity is required on thresholds for definition of such risk states and their ability to predict subsequent outcomes. Intervention studies for these risk states have demonstrated that a variety of interventions, including those with fewer adverse effects than antipsychotic medication, may potentially be effective but they should be interpreted with caution.

Concepts: Antipsychotic, Schizophrenia, Psychosis, Bipolar disorder, Psychiatry, Dopamine, Benzodiazepine, Psychiatric medication