Awareness of the metabolic syndrome in patients with bipolar disorder: A comparison of US and European psychiatrists
Introduction. The metabolic syndrome is a relatively new concept still being debated in the US and Europe; little is known about how it is factored into psychiatric treatment decisions. Method. Practicing psychiatrists in the US (n=500) and five European countries (UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain; n=718) participated in brief online surveys in 2005 and 2006. Results. US psychiatrists were more likely than EU psychiatrists surveyed to view metabolic syndrome as a significant health risk; US respondents reported significantly more bipolar patients who were overweight or obese, but similar percentages of bipolar patients who met criteria for the metabolic syndrome. More US than EU psychiatrists reported monitoring metabolic parameters before and during treatment, and generally were more concerned about bipolar medication adverse effects (AEs). Significantly more US psychiatrists indicated that they were extremely or very concerned about weight gain as an AE. Conclusions. For most surveyed US and EU psychiatrists, metabolic health is an important concern in the treatment of bipolar disorder. US psychiatrists reported more often monitoring metabolic parameters and adjusting treatment if abnormalities become evident, but practices are evolving in the US and EU.