Patients with mental illness 'under-treated for other conditions', researchers warn

Patients with severe mental illness are less likely to be prescribed treatments for physical health conditions such as diabetes or hypertension, a large meta-analysis has shown.

Professor Helen Lester: urged GPs to make mental health 'core business'
Professor Helen Lester: urged GPs to make mental health 'core business'

University of Leicester researchers found patients with schizophrenia received around 12% lower quantities than expected of ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers and statins.

They said this may be due to under-treatment of co-morbid conditions, although they acknowledged that some specialists may have concerns about interactions with mental health medication.

The researchers called on clinicians to prioritise physical health issues among these patients to avoid their other health needs being overlooked.

The findings come after Professor Helen Lester, RCGP mental health commissioning lead,  told the college’s annual general meeting in November that GPs need to make people with conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder their ‘core business’.

In the study, researchers analysed 61 studies into the prescription of 12 medicine classes for cardiovascular health, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, osteoporosis and HIV.

They found that patients with severe mental illness were under-treated by 10%, schizophrenia by 12% and other mental health conditions by 8%.

Lead author Dr Alex Mitchell, a consultant at Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, said the differences were due to prescribing, not compliance: ‘Mental health professionals may not feel confident in prescribing medication to treat physical problems and hospital specialists may be worried about interactions of mental health medication.

‘However we cannot rule out the possibility that medical conditions are being under-treated where they co-exist with mental health problems.’

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

Most GPs yet to commit to network DES just days before deadline

Most GPs yet to commit to network DES just days before deadline

Most GP practices have yet to sign up to the network DES for 2020/21 with just days...

LMC warns risks of PCN DES may outweigh benefits for some practices

LMC warns risks of PCN DES may outweigh benefits for some practices

A major LMC has warned that the risks of signing up to the network DES may outweigh...

Map: Which CCGs have the most patients shielding for coronavirus?

Map: Which CCGs have the most patients shielding for coronavirus?

For GPs in some parts of England, just one in 50 patients have been asked to shield...

Named clinical lead in place at 100% of care homes in England after 'record' GP response

Named clinical lead in place at 100% of care homes in England after 'record' GP response

NHS England has welcomed a 'record response' from GP practices across the country...

GPs offered access to antibody testing from next week

GPs offered access to antibody testing from next week

GPs will be able to request COVID-19 antibody tests for themselves and patients from...

Government forced into U-turn over NHS surcharge for health and care workers

Government forced into U-turn over NHS surcharge for health and care workers

Doctors' leaders hailed a moral victory as the government announced plans to scrap...