Antidepressant agents and suicide death among US Department of Veterans Affairs patients in depression treatment.
ABSTRACT Studies report mixed findings regarding antidepressant agents and suicide risks, and few examine suicide deaths. Studies using observational data can accrue the large sample sizes needed to examine suicide death, but selection biases must be addressed. We assessed associations between suicide death and treatment with the 7 most commonly used antidepressants in a national sample of Department of Veterans Affairs patients in depression treatment. Multiple analytic strategies were used to address potential selection biases.
We identified Department of Veterans Affairs patients with depression diagnoses and new antidepressant starts between April 1, 1999, and September 30, 2004 (N = 502,179). Conventional Cox regression models, Cox models with inverse probability of treatment weighting, propensity-stratified Cox models, marginal structural models (MSM), and instrumental variable analyses were used to examine relationships between suicide and exposure to bupropion, citalopram, fluoxetine, mirtazapine, paroxetine, sertraline, and venlafaxine.
Crude suicide rates varied from 88 to 247 per 100,000 person-years across antidepressant agents. In multiple Cox models and MSMs, sertraline and fluoxetine had lower risks for suicide death than paroxetine. Bupropion had lower risks than several antidepressants in Cox models but not MSMs. Instrumental variable analyses did not find significant differences across antidepressants.
Most antidepressants did not differ in their risk for suicide death. However, across several analytic approaches, although not instrumental variable analyses, fluoxetine and sertraline had lower risks of suicide death than paroxetine. These findings are congruent with the Food and Drug Administration meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials reporting lower risks for "suicidality" for sertraline and a trend toward lower risks with fluoxetine than for other antidepressants. Nevertheless, divergence in findings by analytic approach suggests caution when interpreting results.
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ABSTRACT: To compare rates of cost-related medication underuse and other problems due to medication costs among Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) patients with rates among patients with Medicaid, private health insurance, Medicare, and no insurance coverage. Nationwide survey. A total of 4055 chronically ill patients completed an online questionnaire regarding cost-related adherence problems for medications used to treat 16 chronic illnesses. Respondents also reported whether they cut back on necessities due to medication costs, increased their debt burden to pay for prescriptions, and worried about how they would pay for their medications. Results: Rates of cost-related medication underuse were lower among VA patients (12%) than among patients with Medicaid (25%; P =.0004), Medicare (22%; P =.001), or no insurance (35%; P < .0001). In multivariate analyses, patients with Medicare or no insurance coverage were more likely than VA patients to forego medication at least once per month due to cost (adjusted odds ratios of 3.4 and 3.9; both P < or = .001). Patients with Medicare or no insurance coverage also were more likely than VA patients to forego basic needs to pay medication costs, borrow money to pay for their treatments, and worry frequently about how they would pay for their medication. The VA's prescription benefits may prevent problems due to medication costs. Studies assessing the impact of VA prescription coverage on health outcomes and service use will be needed to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of VA drug benefit policies.The American journal of managed care 12/2004; 10(11 Pt 2):861-8. · 2.46 Impact Factor