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Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2011 Oct;90(4):554-60. doi: 10.1038/clpt.2011.144. Epub 2011 Jul 20.

Clinical and statistical assessment of suicidal ideation and behavior in pharmaceutical trials.

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Clinical Biostatistics, Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development, L.L.C., Raritan, New Jersey, USA.


In the past two decades, the potential association between the risk of suicidal ideation and behavior and the clinical use of pharmaceutical products has been debated among industry, regulators, and academia. A better understanding of the possible effects-favorable, unfavorable, or neutral-of pharmaceuticals on the risk of suicidal ideation and behavior may be required, especially for trials typically designed for other primary objectives. Here, a cross-industry statistical team provides recommendations that address the assessment, statistical analysis, interpretation, and utility of suicide-related data in pharmaceutical clinical trials. These recommendations are to evaluate suicidal ideation, suicidal behavior, and the two combined as end points; utilize standard scales to collect data prospectively; and analyze the data using several statistical methods. A more accurate assessment of the potential association between the use of pharmaceutical products and risk of suicide-related events will contribute to estimating the benefit/risk ratio and result in safer medicines for patients.

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