Suicide risk and choice of antidepressant.
Davis A., Gilhooley M., Agius M., Zaman R.
INTRODUCTION: There is presently concern that patients treated for depression with venlafaxine have a higher suicide rate than those treated with other antidepressants, based on results from observational studies. The aim of this study was to determine whether higher suicide risk, defined as previous suicide attempt or suicidal ideation, influenced the choice of antidepressant prescribed in an outpatient mental health unit, the Bedford East Community Mental Health Team. SUBJECTS AND METHOD: A database held by a the Community Mental Health Team was used to identify patients with Depression who have been treated with Venlafaxine, Citalopram, and patients diagnosed with bipolar II affective disorder. The data was analysed in terms of presence of suicide risk, gender, and whether bipolar II patients on venlafaxine were treated with mood stabilisers. RESULTS: The results showed that a risk of suicide did not prevent the prescription of venlafaxine, that less venlafaxine was prescribed to male patients than females, and that bipolar II patients were indeed treated with mood stabilisers. DISCUSSION: It appears that in this Community Mental Health Team, the possibility of suicide risk with venlafaxine therapy is considered and appropriately managed. CONCLUSION: Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment of bipolar disorder is likely to be the most effective step that we can take to reduce the risk of suicide in patients with bipolar disorder .Appropriate care regarding the judicious use of Venlafaxine as a first line treatment in Unipolar Depression is secondary to this.