Johanne Liv Agger

The use of prescription medication in 239 patients with multiple functional somatic syndromes

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Objective: To describe the use of prescription drugs and their association with patient characteristics in patients with multiple functional somatic syndromes (FSS) focusing on drugs generally recommended and not recommended in FSS treatment. Method: Using data from a national prescription registry, we describe the drug use during a two-year period for 239 trial participants. Using regression models, we analyse the associations of patient characteristics with the patterns of use of antidepressants, anticonvulsants, opioids and sedatives. Results: The use of prescription drugs was highly heterogeneous. Antidepressants were used at least temporarily by 34% (88/239), anticonvulsants by 7% (16/239), opioids by 26% (61/239) and sedatives by 20% (47/239) of the patients. Severe impairment due to multiple FSS was associated with use of opioids or sedatives (OR 6.49 (95% CI 2.68–15.68; p < 0.001)) but also with use of antidepressants or anticonvulsants (OR 3.42 (95% CI 1.35–8.65; p = 0.009)). Poor self-reported physical health, additional physical comorbidities and low socioeconomic status were associated with use of opioids or sedatives only. Conclusion: Antidepressants and anticonvulsants were modestly used. Opioids and sedatives were especially used by the severely affected patients. Balancing treatment expectations and enhancing patients' understanding of FSS may direct treatments towards more generally recommended drugs.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGeneral Hospital Psychiatry
Pages (from-to)96-105
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018

    Research areas

  • Journal Article, Bodily distress syndrome, Clinical practice patterns, Pharmacotherapy, Dispensed prescription drugs, Treatment patterns, Functional somatic syndromes, Practice Patterns, Physicians'/statistics & numerical data, Humans, Middle Aged, Secondary Care/statistics & numerical data, Male, Anticonvulsants/therapeutic use, Analgesics, Opioid/therapeutic use, Drug Prescriptions/statistics & numerical data, Registries/statistics & numerical data, Denmark, Adult, Antidepressive Agents/therapeutic use, Female, Hypnotics and Sedatives/therapeutic use, Somatoform Disorders/drug therapy

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