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Medication Spending Is Up, While Psychotherapy Utilization Decreases For Depression

Over a 10-year period, spending for Medicaid-enrolled patients with depression increased substantially but only minimal improvements in quality of care were observed, according to a report in the December issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. The study was carried out by Catherine A. Fullerton, M.D., M.P.H., of Harvard Medical School and Cambridge Health Alliance, Boston, and colleagues.

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a women in psychotherapy

Early Interventions For Schizophrenia Look Promising, But Hard Evidence Remains Inconclusive

Schizophrenia is a chronic illness that most often comes on in late adolescence or young adulthood and can devastate patients’ lives. Many physicians and researchers believe that early intervention can increase the chances for recovery, reduce recurrences and even prevent the warning signs of psychosis from progressing to the actual disease. Yet, a systematic review of clinical trials using a variety of treatments toward these ends found “insufficient data to draw any definitive conclusions” as to the effectiveness of any one approach.

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women with a headache

Placebo Effect Leads To Substantial Headache Recovery Rate

Headache is a very common complaint with over 90% of all persons experiencing a headache at some time in their lives. Headaches commonly are tension-type (TTH) or migraine. They have high socioeconomic impact and can disturb most daily activities. Treatments range from pharmacologic to behavioral interventions. In a study published online today in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, a group of Dutch researchers analyzed 119 randomized controlled clinical trials (RCTs) and determined the magnitude of the placebo effect and no treatment effect on headache recovery rate.

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front cover of report

Medical And Behavioral Treatments Show Promise To Reduce Autism-Related Behaviors

Some medical and behavioral treatments show promise for reducing certain behaviors in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), but more research is needed to assess the potential benefits and harms, according to a new report funded by HHS’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The research results were published online in the journal Pediatrics. Check the end of this report for a link to download the 908 page comparative effectiveness review for therapies with autism spectrum disorders.

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prescription medication bottle

Naltrexone (Revia) Works Best In Specific Populations With Alcohol Dependence

Results from a new study suggest that one of the most prescribed medications for alcohol dependence may be more effective in some people. Preliminary results show that naltrexone (Revia), one of the only medications approved for treating people with alcohol abuse problems, may only be effective in women and those with a specific genetic variation. The new study, conducted by researchers from the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI MUHC) and McGill University, will be published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

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Front cover of Special Report from Hastings Center

Depolarizing The Debates About Pediatric Mental Health Diagnosis And Treatment

Decisions about whether and how to diagnose children with emotional and behavioral disturbances, and whether and how to treat them, are sometimes not clear-cut. When decisions lie within a “zone of ambiguity,” people who emphasize different value commitments can reach different but equally respectable conclusions. We need to tolerate these reasonable disagreements, according to a special report. Included in this post are links to watch a video summary of the process of depolarizing the debate, as well as a link to download the Special Report full-text PDF from Hastings Center Report on Pediatric Psychiatry.

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Various over the counter and prescription medications

Medication Education Key To Adherence For Patients With Diabetes

Researchers at the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of California, San Diego say that medication education is a key factor in helping patients with diabetes better stick to their drug treatments plans. The study, currently online in the February issue of the journal Annals of Pharmacotherapy, points to the need for pharmacists and other health care providers to assess reasons why some patients do not adhere to their medication plans, and to provide counseling opportunities to help them.

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budgeting and money

Spending On Behavioral Health Is A Shrinking Portion Of Overall Health Expenditures

Spending on psychiatric drugs grew by 5.6 percent from 2004 to 2005, which represents an overall decrease from the 27.3 percent growth seen from 1999 to 2000. This is according to a study published today in the February issue of Health Affairs. The study conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration analyzed healthcare costs from 1986 to 2005 to determine patterns in expenditures for behavioral health services. SAMHSA published the complete study under the title, “National Expenditures for Mental Health Services and Substance Abuse Treatment, 1986 – 2005.” The study is available online for free. Check the end of this report for a download link.

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