Gender differences in antipsychotics prescribed to veterans with serious mental illness

Elana Schwartz, Melanie Charlotte, Eric Slade, Deborah Medoff, Lan Li, Lisa Dixon, Amy Kilbourne, Julie Kreyenbuhl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: To examine gender differences in prescribing of antipsychotic medications (APMs) according to their liability for weight gain and other metabolic side effects. Method: We identified 4510 patients with schizophrenia or bipolar disorders receiving usual care in a Veterans Affairs (VA) health care network in the U.S. mid-Atlantic region who initiated treatment with an APM between October 2006 and September 2011. We used multivariable logistic regression to examine gender differences in the likelihood of incident prescription of APMs with low versus medium/high metabolic risk, adjusting for fiscal year of prescribing and selected Veteran demographic, mental health and physical health characteristics. Results: Overall, 58% of women were prescribed an APM with a low risk of metabolic side effects compared to 45% of men (P<. .001). In multivariable analysis, women Veterans were 1.47 times as likely as men to be prescribed a low-metabolic-risk APM (95% confidence interval: 1.26-1.73, P<. .001). Several demographic and clinical covariates were also independently related to prescribing of APMs by level of metabolic risk. Conclusions: The results may suggest that prescribing choices for APMs by VA mental health prescribers and female Veterans reflect a growing awareness of the potential adverse health consequences of these treatments in women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)347-351
Number of pages5
JournalGeneral Hospital Psychiatry
Volume37
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Antipsychotic medication
  • Serious mental illness
  • Veterans
  • Women's health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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