Different from lithium, there is little known so far on the effect of (newer) anticonvulsants on suicidality in bipolar patients. We evaluated data of 128 patients with bipolar disorders for suicidal ideation. These patients were treated with various mood-stabilizing medications for at least 3 months. No suicide attempt or completed suicide occurred in this cohort during prospective follow up for an average of 13.3 +/- 12.1 years. Compared to lithium, the relative risk of suicidal ideation was numerically slightly higher for valproate, carbamazepine and a small group treated with either levetiracetam, oxcarbazepine or topiramate, but lower in patients treated with lamotrigine, without reaching statistical significance. Confounding variables in more intensive care of these patients participating in a naturalistic study may blur small differences and contribute to a generally favorable outcome.
"Limited numbers of outcome events are common problems in studies of this type. For one example, Born et al. (2005) conducted a retrospective chart review of 128 patients at a university clinic in Germany. About half the patients were on lithium with the remainder on anticonvulsant mediation (chiefly lamotrigine or valproate). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Suicide completion and attempted suicide are major concerns for people with bipolar disorder. Studies in the private sector have suggested that lithium treatment may be superior to divalproex therapy with regard to minimizing suicidal behavior among individuals with bipolar disorder. However, few data are available regarding Medicaid patients diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Subjects were 12,662 Oregon Medicaid patients diagnosed with bipolar disorder and treated with medication between 1998 and 2003. Outcomes measures were completed suicide and emergency department visits for suicide attempts (including non-fatal poisoning). Cox proportional hazards models were used to adjust for demographics, co-morbidity, and concurrent psychotropic medication use.
Divalproex was the most common mood stabilizer (used by 33% of subjects) followed by gabapentin (32%), lithium (25%), and carbamazepine (3%). There were 11 suicide deaths and 79 attempts. Adjusted hazard ratios (versus lithium users) for suicide attempts were 2.7 for divalproex users (p<0.001), 1.6 for gabapentin users (not significant) and 2.8 for carbamazepine users (not significant). For suicide deaths, the adjusted hazard ratios were 1.5 for divalproex users (not significant), 2.6 for gabapentin users (p<0.001), and not available for carbamazepine users.
It should be noted that subjects were not assigned at random to medication use, data on prior suicide attempts were not available, medication use was measured by automated pharmacy records, and duration of mood stabilizer utilization may have been brief.
Lithium may have a protective effect with regard to suicide attempts among Medicaid patients with bipolar disorder. It remains unclear whether or not lithium protects these patients against completed suicide.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although the existence of mood disorders was identified centuries ago, the present state of knowledge is unsatisfactory. This special issue of Archives of Suicide Research (ASR), the official journal of the International Academy for Suicide Research, presents the state of the science and collects new empirical data. Different aspects of suicidality in bipolar and bipolar spectrum disorders are outlined and the prophylactic aspects of pharmacotherapy are noted, especially the anti-suicide effect of lithium. A call for further study is, however, necessary.
Archives of Suicide Research 02/2005; 9(3):231-5. DOI:10.1080/13811110590929415 · 1.64 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Epidemiological and clinical data suggest high rates of suicidal behavior in alcohol-dependent individuals. Suicide attempters are likely to be young, to be single or separated, and to have made prior attempts. They differ from non-attempters by higher levels of impulsive aggression, drug use, and psychiatric comorbidity, particularly personality and depressive disorders. Treatment-seeking, alcohol-dependent individuals often present with multiple risk factors. Early recognition of suicidal behavior is hindered, however, by insufficient data regarding the acute phenomenology of imminent risk. Similarly, little research is available to guide intervention efforts. Initial trials support the use of fluoxetine for the treatment of suicidal, alcohol-dependent persons with comorbid depressive disorders. Future studies may clarify the relative efficacy of various psychotherapeutic and pharmacological approaches to treating these patients.
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