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PLoS One. 2009 Oct 2;4(10):e7312. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0007312.

Drugs associated with more suicidal ideations are also associated with more suicide attempts.

Author information

  • 1Department of Biostatistics, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Ryals School of Public Health, Birmingham, Alabama, United States of America.

Abstract

CONTEXT:

In randomized controlled trials (RCTs), some drugs, including CB1 antagonists for obesity treatment, have been shown to cause increased suicidal ideation. A key question is whether drugs that increase or are associated with increased suicidal ideations are also associated with suicidal behavior, or whether drug-induced suicidal ideations are unlinked epiphenomena that do not presage the more troubling and potentially irrevocable outcome of suicidal behavior. This is difficult to determine in RCTs because of the rarity of suicidal attempts and completions.

OBJECTIVE:

To determine whether drugs associated with more suicidal ideations are also associated with more suicide attempts in large spontaneous adverse event (AE) report databases.

METHODOLOGY:

Generalized linear models with negative binomial distribution were fitted to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Adverse Event (AE) Reporting System (AERS) data from 2004 to 2008. A total of 1,404,470 AEs from 832 drugs were analyzed as a function of reports of suicidal ideations; other non-suicidal adverse reactions; drug class; proportion of reports from males; and average age of subject for which AE was filed. Drug was treated as the unit of analysis, thus the statistical models effectively had 832 observations.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Reported suicide attempts and completed suicides per drug.

RESULTS:

832 drugs, ranging from abacavir to zopiclone, were evaluated. The 832 drugs, as primary suspect drugs in a given adverse event, accounted for over 99.9% of recorded AERS. Suicidal ideations had a significant positive association with suicide attempts (p<.0001) and had an approximately 131-fold stronger magnitude of association than non-suicidal AERs, after adjusting for drug class, gender, and age.

CONCLUSIONS:

In AE reports, drugs that are associated with increased suicidal ideations are also associated with increased suicidal attempts or completions. This association suggests that drug-induced suicidal ideations observed in RCTs plausibly represent harbingers that presage the more serious suicide attempts and completions and should be a cause for concern.

PMID:
19798416
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2749439
Free PMC Article

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