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Exposure to Antidepressant Medications and Suicide Attempts in Adult Depressed Inpatients

Olmer, Ahikam MD*; Iancu, Iulian MD*†; Strous, Rael D. MD*†

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: June 2012 - Volume 200 - Issue 6 - p 531–534
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e318257c7e7
Original Article

The effects of antidepressant medication on suicide risk remain unclear. This study explores any association between antidepressant medication and suicide attempts leading to hospitalization in adult depressed patients.The medical records of 103 patients admitted after a suicide attempt were examined and compared with those of a matched control group of depressed patients (n = 103) admitted without suicide attempts as well as a patient group with and without suicide attempts on separate hospitalizations (n = 25). No significant difference in antidepressant medication exposure before hospitalization was found between groups. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor exposure was higher in patients with suicide attempts, albeit nonsignificant, but was identical in patients admitted on two occasions with and without suicide attempts. The most common method for suicide attempt was drug overdose (52.4%). Patients in the group with suicide attempts had significantly more past suicide attempts. Study results do not confirm any relationship between antidepressants and suicide attempts. Close monitoring of depressed patients is advised especially in early treatment.

*Beer-Yaakov Mental Health Center, Beer-Yaakov, Israel; and †Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel.

Send reprint requests to Ahikam Olmer, MD, Beer Yaakov Mental Health Center, PO Box 1, Beer Yaakov 70350, Israel. E-mail:

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.