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Br J Psychiatry. 2000 Dec;177:551-6.

Deliberate self-harm and antidepressant drugs. Investigation of a possible link.

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1
School of Community Health Sciences, Division of Public Health medicine and Epidemiology, University Hospital, Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham. mercedes@redmerc.freeserve.co.uk

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

It is not clear if the frequency of deliberate self-harm (DSH) is the same in patients taking different pharmacological classes of antidepressant drugs.

AIMS:

To compare the frequency of DSH in patients who had been prescribed a tricyclic antidepressant (TCA) or a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) prior to the DSH event.

METHOD:

This was a prospective study in 2776 consecutive DSH cases attending an accident and emergency department. The incidence of DSH in TCA-treated cases and SSRI-treated cases is expressed as number of DSH events per 10 000 prescriptions of each antidepressant.

RESULTS:

Significantly more DSH events occurred following the prescription of an SSRI than that of a TCA (P<0.001). The occurrence of DSH was highest with fluoxetine and lowest with amitriptyline.

CONCLUSIONS:

Merely prescribing safer-in-overdose antidepressants is unlikely to reduce the overall morbidity from DSH.

PMID:
11102331
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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