Last fall, Dr. Georgios Schoretsanitis attended the 13th (and first-ever virtual) GRADE guideline development workshop as a scholar of the Evidence Foundation. As such, he presented to the rest of the workshop attendees on his work developing guidelines for therapeutic drug monitoring to optimize and tailor treatment for psychotherapeutic medications. Beginning in 2017, a series of recommendations for reference ranges for two commonly prescribed antipsychotic medications was developed, followed this year by an international joint consensus statement on blood levels to optimize antipsychotic treatment in clinical practice.
Dr. Schoretsanitis now has an exciting update on his project.
"My main research interest is therapeutic drug monitoring, also known as TDM, which refers to the quantification and interpretation of medication levels in the blood (plasma or serum) of the patient treated with psychotropic agents," says Dr. Schoretsanitis. "The aim of TDM in clinical practice is to improve treatment response and safety outcomes. Apart from analyzing TDM clinical routine data, I have also been working as a member of the TDM taskforce of the German Association of Neuropsychopharmacology and Phaarmacopsychiatry (Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Neuropsychopharmakologie und Pharmacopsychiatrie; AGNP) involved in systematic reviews of TDM literature, which provide so-called therapeutic reference ranges for medication levels. These ranges may orient clinicians during dose selection. Attending the virtual GRADE workshop in October 2020 provided me much of inspiration, but also knowledge of well-established methodological tools for the assessment of quality of evidence.
Hereafter, in the TDM task force of AGNP, we adopted a GRADE-oriented approach in assessing TDM literature as we are reviewing new TDM evidence on commonly prescribed antipsychotics under the supervision of Prof. Gerhard Gründer, Department of Molecular Neuroimaging, Central Institute of Mental Health, Medical Faculty Mannheim, University of Heidelberg, Mannheim, Germany. This type of approach is more standardized and follows GRADE guidelines. Ultimately, this work will enhance methodological rigidity for the next Consensus guidelines for therapeutic drug monitoring in neuropsychopharmacology [last update 2018; Hiemke et al, Pharmacopsychiatry]. I strongly encourage researchers involved in systematic reviews or assessment of evidence quality to attend the GRADE workshop which enables a major upgrade of related skills and knowledge."
Stay tuned for future updates from other past Evidence Foundation scholars like Dr. Schoretsanitis and the exciting work they are doing to improve the application of GRADE methodology and evidence-based medicine.
If you are interested in learning more about GRADE and attending the workshop as a scholarship recipient, applications for our upcoming virtual workshop in October are now open. The deadline to apply is July 31, 2021. Details can be found here.