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JAMA Psychiatry. 2015 Jun;72(6):570-5. doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2014.3188.

Risk of Suicide Following Deliberate Self-poisoning.

Author information

1
Division of Emergency Medicine, The Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada2Division of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, The Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada3Child Health.
2
Department of Chronic Diseases and Pharmacotherapy, The Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
3
Department of Emergency Medicine, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada7Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.
4
Division of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, The Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
5
Department of Chronic Diseases and Pharmacotherapy, The Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, Toronto, Ontario, Canada8Applied Health Research Centre, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St Michael's Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada9Dalla Lana School.
6
Division of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, The Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada3Child Health Evaluative Sciences, Research Institute, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada4Department of.
7
Department of Pediatrics, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada5Department of Chronic Diseases and Pharmacotherapy, The Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, Toronto, Ontario, Canada10Institute of Health Policy, Management, and Evaluation.

Abstract

IMPORTANCE:

Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, and its rate has risen by 16% in the past decade. Deliberate self-poisoning is the leading method of attempted suicide. Unlike more violent methods, which are almost universally fatal, survival following self-poisoning is common, providing an opportunity for secondary prevention. However, the long-term risk of suicide following a first episode of self-poisoning is unknown.

OBJECTIVE:

To determine the risk of suicide and mortality from other causes following a first self-poisoning episode.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS:

Population-based cohort study using multiple linked health care databases. We identified all individuals with a first self-poisoning episode in Ontario, Canada, from April 1, 2002, through December 31, 2010, and followed up all surviving participants until December 31, 2011, or death, whichever occurred first. For each individual with a deliberate self-poisoning episode, we randomly selected 1 control from the same population with no such history, matched for age (within 3 months), sex, and calendar year.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES:

The primary analysis examined the risk of suicide following discharge after self-poisoning. The secondary analyses explored factors associated with suicide and examined the risk of death caused by accidents or any other cause.

RESULTS:

We identified 65 784 patients (18 482 [28.1%] younger than 20 years) who were discharged after a first self-poisoning episode. During a median follow-up of 5.3 years (interquartile range, 3.1-7.6 years), 4176 died, including 976 (23.4%) by suicide. The risk of suicide following self-poisoning was markedly increased relative to controls (hazard ratio, 41.96; 95% CI, 27.75-63.44), corresponding to a suicide rate of 278 vs 7 per 100 000 person-years, respectively. The median time from hospital discharge to completed suicide was 585 days (interquartile range, 147-1301 days). Older age, male sex, multiple intervening self-poisoning episodes, higher socioeconomic status, depression, and recent psychiatric care were strongly associated with suicide. Patients with a self-poisoning episode were also more likely to die because of accidents (hazard ratio, 10.45; 95% CI, 8.10-13.47) and all causes combined (hazard ratio, 5.55; 95% CI, 5.12-6.02).

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE:

A first self-poisoning episode is a strong predictor of subsequent suicide and premature death. Most suicides occur long after the index poisoning, emphasizing the importance of longitudinal, sustained secondary prevention initiatives.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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