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Effect of increased antidepressant prescribing on suicide rate in Northern Ireland

  • Christopher B. Kelly (a1) and Thérèse Rafferty (a1)
Abstract
Aims and method

To investigate whether changes in antidepressant prescribing have been associated with alteration in suicide rate for the period 1989–1996 in Northern Ireland. Data for antidepressant prescribing were obtained from a central unit, for Northern Ireland, using the defined daily dose system for each of the above years. The number of recorded cases of suicide and undetermined death were also obtained for this period, from Northern Ireland coroners.

Results

There was no evidence of an association between suicide rate and antidepressant prescription (r 2=0.019, F test=0.115, P=0.74), despite antidepressant use more than tripling over the study period.

Clinical implications

Even substantial increases in detection and treatment of depressive Illness may not impinge on suicide rate. It Is also possible that suicide rate may be a very poor marker of the benefits of antidepressant treatment.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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References
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 0955-6036
  • EISSN: 1472-1473
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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Effect of increased antidepressant prescribing on suicide rate in Northern Ireland

  • Christopher B. Kelly (a1) and Thérèse Rafferty (a1)
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