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VISN 5 MIRECC - Psychopharmacology Case Conferences


About Us • Clinical • Education • Research


Although pharmacological treatment options for many psychiatric disorders have expanded markedly over the past decade, not all patients experience satisfactory symptom response from available treatments. Further, the effectiveness of psychopharmacological treatments can be limited by side-effects that interfere with an individual’s daily functioning and recovery from mental illness.

Since 2006, the Clinical Core of the VISN 5 MIRECC has hosted a monthly Psychopharmacology Case Conference to provide a forum for clinicians to discuss clinical challenges with their peers and to receive consultation from MIRECC clinicians and researchers with psychopharmacology expertise. Originally developed to focus specifically on the prevention and management of metabolic side-effects of second-generation antipsychotic medications, the conference has been expanded to include case presentations in all areas of psychopharmacology in order to reach the widest clinical audience. Recent topics of discussion have included the use of prazosin for PTSD-associated nightmares and other sleep disturbances, the use of quetiapine for off-label indications such as insomnia and anxiety disorders, and the use of clozapine for treatment-refractory schizophrenia.

In addition to having cases scheduled in advance for presentation, clinicians from within mental health and beyond are invited to ask questions at the conference and make impromptu case presentations. The relatively informal format combined with the lively and informative discussion of cases has contributed to the increasing attendance at the conference over time, which averages 10-15 participants and 2-3 case presentations per session. Attendees hail from multiple disciplines and include physicians, nurse practitioners, and clinical pharmacists, as well as a variety of trainees. Clinicians are invited to attend even if they don't have a case to present.

The case conference takes place on the first Thursday of every month via conference call.

The panel of conference facilitators includes the following VISN 5 MIRECC staff:

Julie Kreyenbuhl, PharmD, PhD has both clinical pharmacy and mental health services research training and is a research investigator and Associate Director of the Research Core within the VISN 5 MIRECC. She is also an Associate Professor in the University of Maryland Department of Psychiatry and is the first author or co-author on over 50 papers published in peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Kreyenbuhl is nationally recognized for her work on developing and disseminating evidence-based guidelines for the treatment of schizophrenia, including as the Principal Investigator of a NIMH- and VA-supported effort to update the Schizophrenia PORT Treatment Recommendations. She is also the recipient of a VA HSR&D Merit Award in which she is testing the effectiveness of a patient-centered computerized tool for increasing rates of screening for the metabolic side effects of second-generation antipsychotic medications.

Robert W. Buchanan, MD
is an investigator and Assistant Director of the Research Core within the VISN 5 MIRECC. He is also a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He is an internationally renowned expert on the pharmacological treatment of people with schizophrenia. He has conducted numerous studies examining the efficacy and safety of antipsychotic and other pharmacological agents for the treatment of persistent positive and negative symptoms and cognitive impairments, and has published approximately 165 papers in peer reviewed journals. He was a Co-Investigator on the recent revision of the Schizophrenia Patient Outcomes Research Team (PORT) Psychopharmacologic Treatment Recommendations.

Neil Sandson, MD
is a national expert on drug-drug interactions. He has published one of the definitive text books on that topic, and in all has published approximately 30 scientific articles, book chapters, or books. He has provided psychopharmacologic consultation to clinicians in the Baltimore area for many years, and has been an inpatient attending psychiatrist in the VAMHCS since 2007.