Despite clinical guideline recommendations to use second-generation anti-psychotics for acute mania, lithium and valproate for long-term maintenance, and quetiapine, lurasidone, lithium, and lamotrigine for bipolar depression, actual prescribing patterns differ, as clearly shown in the current study.
Nationwide Finnish registers were used to determine medication use among patients with bipolar disorder, 16-65 years of age.
The overall use of medications decreased during the 5 years after diagnosis of bipolar disorder.
The highest prevalence of medication use occurred 3 months after diagnosis of bipolar disorder (anti-depressants, 40.8%; anti-psychotics, 30.8%; and mood stabilizers, 29.2%).
The range in prevalence of medication use during the 5 years after diagnosis of bipolar disorder was as follows: lithium, 5.9%-6.5%; and benzodiazepines, 12.4%-13.5%; Z-drugs, 7.3%-7.9%.