The pharmacological treatment of depression and the time elapsed since last seen by a doctor were investigated among 507 adults who subsequently killed themselves. The proportion of people consulting a general practitioner or psychiatrist prior to suicide was lower than reported by the British government in the Health of the Nation document. General practitioners prescribed relatively low doses of antidepressants. Nineteen out of the 115 people receiving antidepressants used the drugs to kill themselves. Our findings emphasise the importance of prescribing adequate doses of antidepressants and underline the need for safer prescribing.
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