SPOKANE, Wash. – New research led by health policy professor Jae Kennedy at Washington State University Health Sciences in Spokane will compare the positive and negative effects of antipsychotic medications used by the state’s Medicare population.
The results will be presented to state policymakers and healthcare providers.
Medications for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder have serious side effects. Kennedy and his team will study the most recent data from Medicare drug claims to present a detailed look at medication use for these disorders.
A grant of $340,289 from the state attorney general’s office will fund the two-year study. The money is from a settlement paid to 37 states, including Washington, by Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., last year for allegedly promoting unapproved uses for its antipsychotic medications Risperdal and Invega.
Kennedy will prepare a thorough analysis of how patients are using the drugs, such as whether they are taking them as prescribed, taking multiple psychiatric medicines and taking them for nonapproved conditions.
He will present the findings to mental health care providers and consumers in at least three forums around the state and at least one national conference. He will submit the findings for publication and develop an interactive website.
Kennedy figures there will be about 17,500 antipsychotic medication users in the study.
“Appropriate use of antipsychotic medications can significantly extend and improve the lives of people with schizophrenia and manic-depressive psychosis,” he said in his grant proposal. “But it can also heighten risk for serious adverse effects, including cardiometabolic dysfunction, diabetes, cerebrovascular events, thromboembolism and sudden cardiac death.”
Kennedy gathered letters of support for the project from the Washington State Psychiatric Association, Washington State Medical Association and Washington State Pharmacy Association.
Co-investigators are Sean Murphy, assistant professor in health policy and administration, and Sterling McPherson, assistant research professor in the WSU College of Nursing. Matt Layton, a Spokane psychiatrist with faculty appointments at WSU and the University of Washington, will serve as a clinical consultant. A project coordinator will be hired.
The grant period is Sept. 1, 2013, through Aug. 31, 2015.