Attitude toward prescription and clinical monitoring of lithium salts in a sample of Italian psychiatrists: preliminary data

B. Pacciardi 1, L. Palagini 1, C. Mainardi 1, B. Cotugno 1, C. Cargioli 2, G. Perugi 1, M. Di Fiorino 3

1 Psichiatria Universitaria II, Dipartimento di Specialità Mediche, Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Pisana, Pisa, Italy; 2 Department of Psychiatry, North-Western Tuscany Region Local Health Unit, Italy; 3 Psychiatry Unit, Versilia Hospital, Lido di Camaiore, Lucca (Lu), Italy

Results of international prescribing patterns show that lithium prescription and biochemical drug monitoring seem to differ from a country to another.

In spite of clear-cut supporting scientific evidence lithium monitoring is often disregarded, incorrectly used or underused. 

In Italy the trend of lithium prescriptions and biochemical monitoring is far from what suggested in guidelines; even if there’s an impressive paucity of data about lithium monitoring and related iatrogenic risks in our country.

In order to assess the current attitude in Italy toward lithium treatment in bipolar disorder we asked to a number of senior psychiatrists, working within the national territory, to fill a 34 items interview. Items were grouped in 8 domains, ranging from prescription pattern to therapeutic drug monitoring and other safety measures to prevent iatrogenic harm during lithium therapy.

A preliminary analysis of the very first data, collected mainly in Tuscany, suggested that overall knowledge about lithium prescription and biochemical monitoring were good and the few critical topics found in this preliminary study may be addressed with an improvement in information about lithium therapy.

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