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Selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors and the risk of violent suicide: a nationwide postmortem study
Karolinska Inst, Sweden.
Karolinska Inst, Sweden.
Linköping University, Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Division of Drug Research. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
Karolinska Inst, Sweden.
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2019 (English)In: European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, ISSN 0031-6970, E-ISSN 1432-1041, Vol. 75, no 3, p. 393-400Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

PurposeWe endeavored to investigate whether previous findings of an association between antemortem exposure to selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRI) and method of suicide could be replicated.MethodsUsing the Swedish National Board of Forensic Medicines toxicology database and the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfares national registries of causes of death and prescriptions, 10,002 incidents of suicide were retrieved. Risks of violent suicide conferred by SSRIs, expressed as odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs), were estimated using logistic regression. In accordance with previous work, suicide by violent meanscaseswere defined as death attributable to causes designated by ICD-10 codes X70-X83 and Y20-Y33; and suicide by non-violent meanscontrolsby codes X60-X69 and Y10-Y19.ResultsOur results imply that SSRI exposure confers a risk of violent suicide for shorter treatment durations; and that antemortem exposure to other substances (including illegal drugs) confounds estimates of risk. After adjustment for age, sex, and other substances, SSRIs treatment not exceeding 28days conferred an almost fourfold risk of violent suicide (OR 3.6 [95% CI 1.9-6.8]), a finding partly in line with a recent Swedish study that employed a case-crossover design.ConclusionsAlthough risks associated with shorter treatment duration may reflect latencies to onset of therapeutic effect, it is unclear how latencies would influence the choice of suicide method, unless conditions for which SSRIs are prescribed are themselves associated with violent suicide. Finally, in the total dataset, SSRIs were not associated with an increased risk of violent suicide; however, by adjusting for other substances, we avoided the spurious conclusion that the effect of medications in this regard is protective.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
SPRINGER HEIDELBERG , 2019. Vol. 75, no 3, p. 393-400
Keywords [en]
Completed suicide; Violence; Postmortem; Toxicology; Selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors; Dispensed prescription
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-154984DOI: 10.1007/s00228-018-2586-2ISI: 000459165800012PubMedID: 30392108OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-154984DiVA, id: diva2:1297562
Available from: 2019-03-20 Created: 2019-03-20 Last updated: 2019-08-22

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