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A quarter of patients with bipolar disorder are being prescribed drugs which could make their symptoms worse, a new study has claimed.
Research led by Glasgow University has found many bipolar patients are on a combination of medication which is out of line with clinical guidelines.
The study shows a decline in the first recommended treatment for people with the mental health condition.
Experts have described the findings as a “concern”.
Lithium prescribed on its own is the recommended first treatment for bipolar disorder.
But the study of more than 23,000 patients across Scotland between 2007 and 2016 found its use is declining, and it is now only prescribed to one in 20 people with the condition.
The drug is recommended as the first stage treatment as it has proven effectiveness in preventing episodes of depression and mania.
By contrast, nearly 25% of patients were found to be taking antidepressants as their only medication treatment.
Experts say this approach can run the risk that the antidepressants cause worsening moods and episodes of mania.