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Gender differences in the treatment of patients with bipolar disorder: A study of 7354 patients

Journal article
Authors Alina (Aikaterini) Karanti
C. Bobeck
M. Osterman
Mathias Kardell
D. Tidemalm
B. Runeson
P. Lichtenstein
Mikael Landén
Published in Journal of Affective Disorders
Volume 174
Pages 303-309
ISSN 0165-0327
Publication year 2015
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry
Pages 303-309
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2014.11.05...
Keywords Bipolar disorder, Gender, Drug therapy, Electroconvulsive therapy, Psychotherapy, ACUTE MYOCARDIAL-INFARCTION, POLYCYSTIC OVARIAN SYNDROME, TREATMENT, RESPONSE, ELECTROCONVULSIVE-THERAPY, SEX-DIFFERENCES, ACUTE MANIA, I, DISORDER, STEP-BD, WOMEN, VALPROATE
Subject categories Psychiatry

Abstract

Background: Gender differences in treatment that are not supported by empirical evidence have been reported in several areas of medicine. Here, the aim was to evaluate potential gender differences in the treatment for bipolar disorder. Methods: Data was collected from the Swedish National Quality Assurance Register for bipolar disorder (BipolaR). Baseline registrations from the period 2004-2011 of 7354 patients were analyzed. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to study the impact of gender on interventions. Results: Women were more often treated with antidepressants, lamotrigine, electroconvulsive therapy, benzodiazepines, and psychotherapy. Men were more often treated with lithium. There were no gender differences in treatment with mood stabilizers as a group, neuroleptics, or valproate. Subgroup analyses revealed that ECT was more common in women only in the bipolar l subgroup. Contrariwise, lamotrigine was more common in women only in the bipolar II subgroup. Limitations: As BipolaR contains data on outpatient treatment of persons with bipolar disorder in Sweden, it is unclear if these Findings translate to inpatient care and to outpatient treatment in other countries. Conclusions: Men and women with bipolar disorder receive different treatments in routine clinical settings in Sweden. Gender differences in level of functioning, bipolar subtype, or severity of bipolar disorder could not explain the higher prevalence of pharmacological treatment, electroconvulsive therapy, and psychotherapy in women. Our results suggest that clinicians' treatment decisions are to some extent unduly influenced by patients' gender. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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