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New Study Evaluates Psychotropic Prescribing For Persons with Intellectual Disabilities, Other Psychiatric Disorders

PITTSBURGH, Nov. 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- A new report from Community Care Behavioral Health Organization, published in a recent edition of Psychiatric Services in Advance, shows varying psychotropic prescribing patterns in Medicaid recipients (adults and children) with the co-diagnosis of an intellectual disability and a mental health condition, as well as those with a mental health condition diagnosis only.

"We designed this study in response to stakeholder concerns about the use of psychotropic medication among individuals with an intellectual disability," said Gail A. Edelsohn, MD, MSPH, lead author of the study.

To examine the use of psychotropic medication, the study compared:

  • Prescription patterns for four medication classes between the two groups.
  • The pattern of prescribing three or more psychotropic medications concurrently.

The study raises the question about careful use of psychotropics and the importance of recognizing the underlying causes of challenging behaviors, as well as the use of psychosocial interventions in individuals with intellectual disabilities.  Also, the higher rates of prescriptions for mood stabilizers found in the children's co-diagnosis group raises the question about whether medications are being used as anticonvulsants or to treat behavioral health conditions.

The five-year study includes recommendations for behavioral intervention alternatives and careful monitoring of psychotropic effectiveness and side effects.

The full report can be found at

About Community Care
Community Care Behavioral Health Organization, a nonprofit, tax-exempt recovery-focused behavioral health managed care organization headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, manages mental health and substance use disorder services for approximately 750,000 Medical Assistance recipients in Pennsylvania. Community Care also serves as the behavioral health organization for the Hudson River Region of New York State. Part of UPMC, Community Care was incorporated in 1996 with a mission to improve the health and well-being of the community through the delivery of effective and accessible behavioral health services.

SOURCE Community Care Behavioral Health Organization
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