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blood and mental health: drug monitoring and more

Posted by Neoteryx on Aug 13, 2019 8:13:00 AM
Neoteryx

shutterstock_739087891-1Monitoring the physical health of individuals with mental health issues is an integral part of ensuring patients get the healthcare they need. Research has proven patients with serious mental illnesses are also prone to serious physical health issues. Improving data-gathering prowess and technological capabilities afford us new and better ways to help.

Therefore, monitoring the physical well-being of patients ensures that problems are detected before they become serious. Monitoring also ensures patients are taking the right amounts of medication.

Why is drug monitoring important to patients with mental illnesses?

  • Assessing the dosage – Determining the appropriate amount of dosage for a specific patient requires monitoring. This also enables dose forecasting for other patients with similar illnesses. Drug monitoring can enable physicians to better adjust patients’ medications.
  • Compliance assessment – Patients with mental illnesses may be unstable, which impacts their medication dosage. Monitoring ensures physicians know the number of drugs the patients have taken and if the dosages are compliant with their recommendations.
  • Diagnose failed therapy – Mental health treatment requires following a specific procedure. Monitoring the patient’s progress makes it easy to identify if the procedure is working or not. Drug monitoring plays a part in identifying failed therapy early enough. Consequently, enabling physicians to design a different, perhaps more successful therapy.
  • Prevent toxicity Drug toxicity can develop with normal therapeutic doses and during an overdose. Whenever drug toxicity occurs during a normal therapeutic dose, it may be as a result of the nature of the drug. This makes monitoring crucial to prevent toxicity, especially with tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), ‘atypical’ antipsychotic clozapine, and mood stabilizer lithium medications.

How is drug monitoring for mental health performed?

Patient monitoring can be done in part through blood tests. Once a patient is placed under medication, the level of drugs in the system is constantly checked through a blood draw. The blood is then tested to get the specific amounts of these chemicals.

Consistent blood draws may put patients in more danger due to loss of blood; there’s a need to draw blood without putting patients in danger. One exciting new way to do this is microsampling.

With microsampling, the future of drug monitoring for patients with mental illnesses looks brighter.

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Topics: Patient Monitoring