NAMI - National Alliance on Mental Illness Home | About NAMI | Contact Us | En Espanol  | Donate  
Find
  Advanced Search  
 

Sign In
myNAMI
Communities
Register and Join
Donate
What's New
State & Local NAMIs
Advocate Magazine
NAMI Newsroom
NAMI Store
NAMIWALKS
National Convention
Special Needs Estate Planning
NAMI Travel

 Living With
  Schizophrenia
  Major Depression
  Bipolar Disorder
  Anxiety Disorders
  OCD
  Other Mental Illnesses

Print this page
Graphic Site
Log Out
 | Print this page | 
 | 
Anxiety_Disorders

Facts on Access to Medications for People
with Depressive, Bipolar and Anxiety Illnesses

The Patient’s Individuality

  • Most medication choices to treat depressive, bipolar and anxiety disorders require both knowledge about the specific patient and professional judgment.
  • Proper medications and dosages for these disorders depend on the age of the patient, gender, family history, the chronic nature of the illness and the general health status of the individual.
  • The choice of medication by the physician should be evidence-based and consistent with practice guidelines and take into account unique patient characteristics.
  • Differences in drug metabolism related to ethnicity, as well as cultural influences on patient and caregiver attitudes are also important factors in the successful treatment of many illnesses, including depressive, bipolar and anxiety disorders.
  • Restrictive formularies may discriminate against those patients who need alternate medication choices because of genetic factors

Figure 1.

Denying Medications to People with Mental Illness $hifts Costs to Other $ystems

  • 20% of the Prison Population Has a Mental Illness
  • 46% of the Homeless Population Has a Mental Illness
  • 25% of all Admissions for Emergency Medical Services and Hospitalizations are People with Mental Illnesses
  • 80% of Children Entering the Juvenile Justice System Have a Mental Illness
  • 26% of Social Security Insurance Beneficiaries Have a Mental Illness, Reflecting a 90% Unemployment Rate Among People with Mental Illnesses
  • It is critically important to maintain physician and patient choice in order to find an effective treatment, as quickly as possible, thus achieving the best possible clinical outcome and avoid much higher costs downstream in the form of emergency department visits, hospital stays and crisis management, (Figure 1).
  • Patients are less likely to adhere to treatment on medications that are not best for them and without supporting services, and are more likely to suffer a serious episode.
  • Financial or procedural barriers to medication access should be avoided for the most vulnerable populations such as people with major depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety disorders. Careful selection of medications can prevent severe illness, hospitalization or death.
Image
 
  • People with these disorders often do not respond to the first or second medication regimen because of idiosyncratic differences between patients. It is often impossible to predict which medications will ultimately will be effective.
  • Such patients have notoriously poor compliance with medication regimens so any changes in medications are likely to disturb fragile and biologic equilibriums, resulting in an expensive exacerbation of the illness, (Figure 2).

Next Page: Restrictive Formularies are Bad Economics for States

Policymakers Toolkit Home

 | Print this page | 
 | 

Donate

Support NAMI to help millions of Americans who face mental illness every day.

Donate today

Speak Out

Inspire others with your message of hope. Show others they are not alone.

Share your story

Get Involved

Become an advocate. Register on NAMI.org to keep up with NAMI news and events.

Join NAMI Today
Home  |  myNAMI  |  About NAMI  |  Contact Us  |  Jobs  |  SiteMap

Copyright © 1996 - 2011 NAMI. All Rights Reserved.