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Determinants of complementary and alternative medicine use by patients with bipolar disorder.

Kilbourne AM, Copeland LA, Zeber JE, Bauer MS, Lasky E, Good CB. Determinants of complementary and alternative medicine use by patients with bipolar disorder. Psychopharmacology Bulletin. 2012 Mar 13; 40(3):104-15.

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OBJECTIVES: We determined the prevalence and correlates of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use among patients with bipolar disorder. METHODS: Patients with bipolar disorder recruited from a large urban mental health facility from 2004 to 2006 completed a baseline questionnaire on CAM use, demographics, treatment perspectives, and behaviors. Additional data on current medications and clinical features were ascertained via chart review. Multivariable logistic regression was used to determine the patient sociodemographic, clinical, and treatment factors associated with use of different CAM practices. RESULTS: Of 435 patients, the mean age was 49 years; 77% were white, 13% were black, and 10% other race/ethnicity. Patients reported a wide range of CAM use, including prayer/spiritual healing (54%), meditation (53%), vitamins or herbs (50%), and weight loss supplements (22%). Multivariable analyses controlling for sociodemographic, clinical, and treatment factors revealed that patients of other racial/ethnic groups (other than whites or Blacks), those diagnosed with bipolar spectrum disorders (other than bipolar I disorder), and those prescribed anticonvulsants (eg, valproic acid, carbamazepine), or atypical antipsychotics were most likely to use CAM. CONCLUSIONS: A substantial number of patients diagnosed with bipolar disorder is using CAM. CAM use may be popular among patients with this illness because conventional pharmacotherapy for managing bipolar symptoms can also disrupt quality of life. Mental health providers should be aware of CAM use among patients with bipolar disorder and assess the potential impact of CAM use on treatment course.

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