Psychiatrists' opinions on somatic health in patients with schizophrenia - results of a Polish nationwide study
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Arch Psych Psych 2010;12(3):37-46
Aim. In view of a growing number of publications indicating that schizophrenia increases the risk of somatic disorders and mortality, a study was undertaken, the objective of which was to analyse the extent to which psychiatrists evaluate the somatic status of their patients suffering from schizophrenia. Method. A nationwide questionnaire study was ordered by Bristol Myers Squibb and carried out in 2009 with the participation of 404 psychiatrists. Questionnaires were completed by 184 participants during the scientific conference, whereas the remaining number of respondents was requested to complete the questionnaire at their workplaces. The questionnaire used previously in a similar study consisted of ten questions pertaining to various aspects of somatic health, such as control of health parameters and influence of pharmacological treatment on schizophrenic patients' health status and other. Results. The majority (73.1%) of the respondents considers assessment of somatic health status in their patients a very important element of medical examination. Also, the majority reports that during nearly every visit a full physical examination is made and laboratory test results are monitored. According to 70.5% respondents, the occurrence of metabolic disorders is the most significant threat to somatic health in this group of patients. Doctors with private practices paid more attention to sexual dysfunctions and endocrine disorders than physicians working in state-owned hospitals. Conclusions. The results of the questionnaire survey reveal that somatic examination is of high priority for evaluation of health status in schizophrenia patients and that simultaneously psychiatrists admit to their high involvement in assessment of physical health. Even though there are no doubts about the reliability of these statements, patients ought to be asked whether their needs in this respect have been adequately met, and should this not be the case, actions ought to be undertaken with the aim of deepened education concerning the ability to select antipsychotic drugs, and in terms of a minimum threat to somatic health.
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