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Pharmacologic Interventions in Suicide Prevention

Leonardo Tondo, MD; Carmen Ghiani, MD; and Matthew Albert, MA

Published: January 12, 2001

Article Abstract

Suicide rates vary by country and by mental disorder. What does not vary, though, is that the numberof suicides per year is not declining and that a person with a mental disorder is more likely tocommit suicide than one without such an illness. Although many pharmacologic interventions havebeen reported to reduce the risk of suicide among mentally ill patients, especially those with bipolardisorder, the effects of such interventions are inconsistent at best. Lithium is the only medication forwhich the evidence consistently shows an antisuicidal effect.

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