Observational study on medications prescribed to dual-diagnosis outpatients

Lara Grau-Ĺopez, Carlos Roncero, Constanza Daigre, Laia Miquel, Carmen Barral, Begõna Gonzalvo, Francisco Collazos, Miquel Casas

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15 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: To quantify the number of medications used for treating psychiatric and addictive disorders in a cohort of dual diagnosis with substance dependence outpatients and report the most frequent pharmacological groups used. Methods: A descriptive, cross-sectional study was conducted. Demographic data, Axis I comorbidity diagnosis with substance dependence, and the medications prescribed were recorded. Diagnosis was assessed by the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV (SCID). Results: One hundred seven patients (mean age 37.7 years; SD = 10.2 years) were evaluated (76.6% men). On average, patients took 4.0 (SD = 1.8) medications. The pharmacological groups prescribed were antipsychotics (69.2%) followed by antidepressants (65.4%), antiepileptics (58.9%), anxiolytics (37.4%), alcohol-aversive drugs (15.9%), methadone (15.9%), lithium (3.7%), and naltrexone (2.8%). Older patients (>45 years old) were found to have a higher number of prescribed medications. Patients diagnosed with a dual psychotic disorder were prescribed a larger number of pharmacological agents (mean = 4.4; SD = 2.1) than patients with a mood disorder (mean = 3.7; SD = 1.3) or an anxiety disorder (mean = 2.9; SD = 1.2), K = 10.5, P = 0.005. Conclusions: Because polypharmacy is frequent in patients with mental illness and a co-occurring substance use disorder, specialized approaches need to be developed. © 2014 American Society of Addiction Medicine.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-89
JournalJournal of Addiction Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Addiction
  • Drug dependence
  • Dual diagnosis
  • Outpatient drug clinic
  • Polypharmacy


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