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December 1988

Prescribing of Psychotropic Medication by Primary Care Physicians and Psychiatrists

Author Affiliations

From the School of Pharmacy, University of Maryland, Baltimore (Dr Beardsley); the National Center for Health Statistics, Hyattsville, Md (Dr Gardocki); the Biometry and Clinical Applications Branch, National Institute of Mental Health, Rockville, Md (Dr Larson); and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Baltimore (Dr Hidalgo).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1988;45(12):1117-1119. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1988.01800360065009

• This study investigates the prescribing of psychotropic medications by primary care physicians and psychiatrists using the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey database. Results indicate that primary care practitioners provide a larger percentage of psychotropic drug visits than psychiatrists in every psychotropic class except for those patients prescribed lithium. In addition, the two provider groups differed in the relative proportions of the classes of psychotropic drugs prescribed. Primary care physicians prescribed anxiolytics most frequently, while psychiatrists prescribed antidepressants most often. Finally, in all therapeutic classes, when a psychotropic medication was prescribed, psychiatrists typically provided a mental health diagnosis, while primary care physicians did not.

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