Patients with mental disorders like depression, schizophrenia, ADHD, bipolar disorder, psychosis, anxiety etc. are often treated with psychotrophic drugs. Psychopharmacologic research examines the impact of different drugs on patients with mental disorders and how different compounds may affect people’s behaviour by altering thought patterns and emotions; and documents potential long-term effects on physical condition.

Besides academia, psychopharmacology and the safe use of drugs are naturally also of general public health concern and of interest to pharmaceutical companies. Therefore, collaborations between the domains are common.

Pharmacoepidemiology relies on a large amount of data in order to detect rare events, and researchers at NCRR utilize data from the Danish registers to study courses and outcomes of pharmacological treatment in psychiatric patients. In recent years, NCRR has been involved in EU-funded research projects, CRESTAR and PROTECT, that allowed researchers to work relatively independent of drug companies’ financial aid. 

In the CRESTAR project, that officially ended on 31st October 2015, researchers analysed samples of more than 11,000 patients with treatment resistant schizophrenia, involving nearly 25,000 controls, identifying 10 genetic loci associated with treatment resistant schizophrenia - and clozapine treatment failure. Moreover, the researchers used epigenetic analyses with the purpose to develop a model that may predict the effect of clozapine use in patients with schizophrenia, with high specificity and sensitivity. This research has important clinical implications, because the earlier patients are offered the correct medical treatment, the better the long-term outcome may be.  

The EU-project, PROTECT, contains several work programmes, where the researchers compare and develop new methods in the field of pharmacoepidemiology to quantify and communicate the risks and benefits of pharmacological treatment. NCRR contributes to the PROTECT project as a leading force concerning performance combining register data, genetic data and other biological data in order to conduct studies of interacting genetic and environmental factors influencing risk, course and outcome of mental disorders.

In addition to the involvement in CRESTAR and PROTECT, NCRR is also involved in other research projects on anti-depressive treatment response, sickness absence in users of anti-depressants, pharmacological treatment of patients with dementia, and much more.

Currently, NCRR is involved in research projects that examine questions like:  

  • How does clozapine treatment effect mortality and self-harm in individuals with treatment-resistant schizophrenia?
  • What is the prevalence of drug prescription for high-risk pregnancies in Danish women with a psychiatric history compared to Danish women in general?

For further Reading:

Horsdal, Henriette T, et al (2017): “Association between global functioning at first schizophrenia diagnosis and treatment resistance”. Early Intervention in Psychiatry: 10.1111/eip.12522

Ingstrup, Katja G, et al (2017): ”Prescribtion drug use in pregnancy and variations according to prior psychiatric history”. Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety: 10.1002/pds.4355

Wimberley, Theresa, et al (2017): ”Polygenic Risk Score for Schizophrenia and Treatment-Resistant Schizophrenia” Schizophrenia Bulletin: 10.1093/schbul/sbx007

Horsdal, Henriette Thisted, et al (2017): ”C-reactive protein levels and treatment resistance in schizophrenia – A Danish population-based cohort study” Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental: 10.1002/hup.2632

Bjørklund, Louise B, et al (2017): ”Psychopharmacological treatment of psychotic mania and psychotic bipolar depression compared to non-psychotic mania and non-psychotic bipolar depression Bipolar disorders: 10.1111/bdi.12504

Wimberley, Theresa, et al (2016): ”Predictors of treatment resistance in patients with schizophrenia: a population-based cohort study” Lancet Psychiatry:  10.1016/S2215-0366(15)00575-1

Köhler, Karl Ole, et al (2016): ”The effect of Concomitant Treatment with SSRIs and Statins: A Population-based Study”: The American Journal of Psychiatry: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2016.150

Dalsgaard S, et al (2015) “Effect of Drugs On the Risk of Injuries in Children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder - A Prospective Cohort Study.” Lancet Psychiatry.