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Ask the Mental Health Expert Archives 2001-2004

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Week of January 15, 2001

    Question: In addition to psychotherapy, which antidepressants are best used to treat dysthymia and depression? (First line medications.) Which symptoms will it treat? In other words, what sort of relief can a patient expect by taking these drugs? What are the side effects that each drug possess?    Dr. Pies' Answer

    Question: I am currently a paramedic working for a private ambulance service which is contracted to several nursing homes. I have been seeing a lot of geriatric patients who never leave the nursing home, some very ambulatory and have basically their full mental capacity and some not, of varying degrees. I have been thinking of starting some sort of business that could go into nursing homes, assisted living centers and private residences that assist people with their homemaking duties if at home, and if in the nursing homes take them for visits to the mall, to the movies, to social events--sort of a sensory stimulation...    Dr. Pies' Answer

    Question: I am a clinical pharmacist responding to a complaint by an IPA psychiatrist. I have a physician who insists that all mood stabilizers, with the exception of Topamax, cause weight gain sufficient to induce hypertension, type II diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, and hypertriglyceridemia. He speaks of his many patients that have gained in excess of 100 lbs (as much as 150 lbs) on medications other than Topamax. I found your summary on weight gain (Mood Disorder Meds Weigh In), and have done a significant amount of literature search and cannot validate his statement. Can you give me any insight?    Dr. Pies' Answer