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In mental health care, medication and psychosocial therapy are inseparable. However, clinical practice varies by medical professional, so it’s necessary to disseminate better medical care. For example, regarding the treatment of schizophrenia, a typical psychiatric disorder, overseas guidelines recommend single antipsychotic drug treatment, but in Japan, multiple dosing regimens are overwhelmingly common compared to other countries, with many kinds of drugs given to patients.

In Japan, Guidelines for Pharmacological Therapy of Schizophrenia was published by The Japanese Society of Neuropsychopharmacology (JSNP) in September 2015. These are the first guidelines published based on evidence according to Medical Information Network Distribution Service (Minds) Guidelines and recommend single antipsychotic drug treatment for schizophrenia. These guidelines can be downloaded at the JSNP website. The Japanese Society of Mood Disorders (JSMD) also published guidelines for treating major depression and bipolar disorder, and these guidelines are also downloadable at the JSMD website. Despite these efforts, it's difficult to say that these guidelines are in widespread use, so steps to spread better medical care should be taken.

Associate Professor HASHIMOTO Ryota at United Graduate School of Child Development, Osaka University, Professor WATANABE Koichiro at Kyorin Uniersity, and Lecturer INADA Ken at the School of Medicine, Tokyo Women's Medical University began a research project, “Effectiveness of Guideline for Dissemination and Education in psychiatric treatment (EGUIDE),” in which 20 psychiatric facilities in Japan participate.

In EGUIDE research, courses on psychiatric care guidelines will be provided to psychiatrists and the effects of these guidelines will be verified. This project was approved in the ethical review committee at Osaka University, a leader of the research institutes participating in this project, in May of this year. Research will be promoted in other facilities all over Japan in the future. There was no research for verifying the effects of treatment guidelines in the field of psychiatry, so this project is a totally new approach. It is expected that training according to the guidelines will be provided to psychiatrists and better treatment promoted.

Guidelines for Pharmacological Therapy of Schizophrenia (left) and Guidelines for treating major depression and bipolar disorder

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