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J Clin Psychiatry. 1991 Mar;52(3):108-11.

Suicidality and fluoxetine: is there a relationship?

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Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston 02114.


A recent report of six depressed patients who developed intense, violent suicidal preoccupation after 2 to 7 weeks of fluoxetine treatment prompted the authors to survey 27 psychiatrists who treated 1017 depressed outpatient with antidepressants during 1989: 3.5% (8/231) of those treated with fluoxetine alone, 6.5% (4/62) of those treated with fluoxetine and tricyclics, 1.3% (5/385) of those treated with tricyclics alone or with lithium, and 3.0% (3/101) of those treated with other antidepressants became suicidal only after treatment with these antidepressants was initiated. None of these patients, however, reported intense suicidal thoughts of the degree described in the previously reported six cases. The difference in incidence of suicidal ideation occurring only after initiation of treatment was not significant between patients treated with fluoxetine alone and those receiving the other antidepressant treatments.

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