PSTD vets given drugs against guidelines

IOWA CITY, Iowa, Feb. 12 (UPI) -- Veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder are prescribed psychiatric drugs not supported by U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs guidelines, researchers say.

Dr. Thad E. Abrams and Dr. Brian Lund, both of the Center for Comprehensive Access and Delivery Research and Evaluation, Iowa City Veterans Affairs Health Care System, and colleagues analyzed fiscal year 2009 electronic pharmacy data from the Veterans Health Administration for 356,958 veterans with PTSD who were receiving medications from VHA prescribers.


Veterans had at least one VHA encounter with a diagnostic code of PTSD and evidence of continuous medication use. Medications of interest were selective serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, second-generation anti-psychotic medications and benzodiazepines -- Librium and also marketed as diazepam or Valium.

The study, published in Psychiatric Services, found in 2009, among all veterans with PTSD who had continuous VA medication use, 65.7 percent were prescribed elective serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors; second-generation anti-psychotics were prescribed for 25.6 percent of these veterans; and benzodiazepines were prescribed for 37 percent.

The findings indicated veterans with PTSD were frequently prescribed medications not supported by existing guidelines by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Department of Defense.


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