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Antidepressants prevent suicide: Swedish study

Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 15 Sep 2010, 13:38

Published: 15 Sep 2010 13:38 GMT+02:00

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Suicides are in decline in Sweden, dropping by about 30 percent since 1990 to around 1,500 people per annum. At the same time the use of antidepressants has increased in parallel, the researchers observed.

The researchers at Karolinska University Hospital in Huddinge thus set about to investigate the hypothesis that antidepressant medication was a causal factor in this decline.

The study looked at toxicology data from 18,922 cases of suicide registered in Sweden from 1992-2003, linked to registers of psychiatric hospitalization.

The researchers expected to find that those who had spent time as in-patients for the treatment of depression in the year prior to their death, would have a higher incidence of antidepressants at the time of their suicide, as they were considered to be the most vulnerable group. The report however indicates that they were in fact under-represented.

"The finding that in-patient care for depression did not increase the probability of the detection of antidepressants in suicides is difficult to explain other than by the assumption that a substantial number of depressed individuals were saved from suicide by postdischarge treatment with antidepressant medication," the researchers concluded in their study.

Story continues below…

Göran Isacsson, who led the research team, told the Dagens Nyheter daily that the classification of depression as a life-threatening condition and that medicines can help to prevent suicides, is somewhat provocative.

"It is thus important to show that antidepressant medication actually works to prevent suicide," he said to the newspaper.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

15:16 September 15, 2010 by The Nine
Er, the clue might be in the name.
15:17 September 15, 2010 by Nemesis
That is lifetime consultancy careers in the pharmaceutical industry guarenteed for those researchers who put there name to this publication.
15:20 September 15, 2010 by GefleFrequentFlyer
"Prevents?" What school of problem solving did the researchers go to? Err, scratch that, what journalism school did the TL editors go to?
16:00 September 15, 2010 by Swedesmith
Perhaps a study should be conducted as to why we have to drug ourselves to function in society.
17:46 September 15, 2010 by Uncle
What a great study! I hope that they were not cheap and offloaded at least 100msek into this. Of course picking a phone and asking the pharmaceutical company would have been a bit cheaper, but where is the science in that? Where is the rush of exploring the unknown?

What is next? A research proving that food prevents death from starvation?
17:52 September 15, 2010 by frey
i could not find the study online. could someone provide a link.
17:59 September 15, 2010 by eZee.se
"What is next? A research proving that food prevents death from starvation? "

Shhhh! Don't be silly, you now have the idea... write it up in 500 words and apply for a government grant.

Take the grant money and holiday...ummm, research in the Bahamas for 5 years then "present your findings".
11:01 September 16, 2010 by WelshSwede
Im currently working on my research that running gets you to your destination quicker than walking!
11:20 September 24, 2010 by rob robertson
Nature is the best treatment I know for depression or just about anything else. You can not go wrong sitting next to a your favorite tree, or if the weather is poor- the library is a good place to go.

The secret is perseverence... because thats when the healing begins.
09:38 September 27, 2010 by Freyja14
Hahah was this study paid for by the pharma companies?!?!

"Evidence has emerged that a class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) actually increases the risk of suicide in those who take them. While such claims have been hotly disputed by the pharmaceutical industry and many psychiatrists, experimental, epidemiological and case study evidence continues to emerge that reinforces such a link. The evidence suggests that those taking SSRIs are approximately twice as likely to commit suicide as those not taking such medications. This risk increase appears to be independent of the specific diagnosis or other underlying health factors. Even worse, recent research published in the peer-reviewed journal PLoS Medicine (see http://medicine.plosjournals.org/pe...) reveals that antidepressant drugs don't work any better than placebo at reducing depression. This study looked at all the clinical trials conducted on SSRIs, not just the ones selected by drug companies for publication. It reveals that SSRI drug manufacturers committed scientific fraud in censoring studies that did not show positive results. Now, the whole world knows that the disease mongering and hype behind antidepressant drugs was based on pure scientific fraud."naturalnews.com
02:58 October 12, 2010 by Da Goat
Apart from what Freyja pointed out that Antidepressants increase suicide nobody has found that these drugs work any better than a placebo

they do not work at all !

and yet they charge 15kr ($4) a pill, now there is a brilliant business to be in!

the price alone is depressing knowing everyone else is wasting their resources too is even more so.
17:08 December 11, 2011 by forwardtherapy
The oversimplification of the headline does not reflect the content of the article. As reported, this study does not show a causal relationship between antidepressant use and reduced suicides (only an assumption) and treatment other than medication does not seem to have been considered . My understanding is that there is yet to be an independent and credible study that proves antidepressant use decreases suicide risk. However there have been a number cases that have indicated increased suicidality in the initial period after starting antidepressants.
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