This work may not be copied, distributed, displayed, published, reproduced, transmitted, modified, posted, sold, licensed, or used for commercial purposes. By downloading this file, you are agreeing to the publisher’s Terms & Conditions.

Original Research

Access to Psychotropic Medication via Prescription Is Associated With Choice of Psychotropic Medication as Suicide Method: A Retrospective Study of 27,876 Suicide Attempts

Talia L. Brown, MS, PhD; Peter M. Gutierrez, PhD; Gary K. Grunwald, PhD; Carolyn DiGuiseppi, MD, PhD; Robert J. Valuck, PhD; and Heather D. Anderson, PhD

Published: November 6, 2018

Article Abstract

Objective: Whether physical access to psychotropic medication via prescription (ie, prescribed access) is associated with use of psychotropic medication as a means of subsequent suicide attempt remains unclear. In a population of suicide attempters, we investigated whether prescribed access to any psychotropic medication increased the likelihood of using any psychotropic drug in a suicide attempt and whether prescribed access to a specific psychotropic drug type increased the likelihood of using that specific psychotropic drug type in an attempt.

Methods: Case-control study design was used. We identified individuals receiving care for a suicide attempt (fatal or nonfatal) in emergency department and inpatient settings from a US insurance claims dataset (2006-2013) using relevant ICD-9-CM codes. Cases used a psychotropic drug in their suicide attempt, while controls used another method. Exposed individuals filled a psychotropic drug prescription within 90 days prior to the attempt. Multivariable logistic regression estimated odds ratios.

Results: A population of 27,876 (cases = 10,158, controls = 17,718) was included. Anxiolytics were used most in attempts (n = 6,037, 59.4%), followed by antidepressants (n = 3,573, 35.2%), antipsychotics or mood stabilizers (n = 1,168, 11.5%), and stimulants (n = 368, 3.6%). Thirteen percent (n = 1,316) used more than 1 type of psychotropic drug in the attempt. Across all psychotropic drug groups evaluated, individuals using psychotropic medication in a suicide attempt were significantly more likely to have had prescribed access (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 1.7; 95% CI, 1.6-1.9), with the highest drug type-specific odds ratios for antipsychotics or mood stabilizers (aOR = 6.5; 95% CI, 5.4-7.7) and stimulants (aOR = 7.6; 95% CI, 5.5-10.5).

Conclusions: Individuals at high risk for suicide with prescribed access to any psychotropic medication should be targeted for means safety interventions.

Volume: 79

Quick Links:

Continue Reading…

Subscribe to read the entire article


Buy this Article as a PDF