Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Having severe acne may increase suicide risk, study suggests

Date:
November 14, 2010
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
Individuals who suffer from severe acne are at an increased risk of attempting suicide, a new study suggests.

Individuals who suffer from severe acne are at an increased risk of attempting suicide, according to a paper published online in the British Medical Journal.

Related Articles


The study also finds that an additional risk may be present during and up to one year after treatment with isotretinoin, a commonly prescribed drug for severe acne. However, the authors stress that this additional risk is most likely due to the acne itself, rather than the drug treatment.

Isotretinoin (commonly marketed as Roaccutane, Accutane, Amnesteem, Claravis, Clarus or Decutan) has been used to treat severe acne since the 1980s. The treatment can be effective but there have been reports linking isotretinoin to depression and suicidal behaviour. However studies have had conflicting results, say the authors.

With the hypothesis that acne sufferers are at a higher risk of suicide, regardless of whether they are on isotretinoin, Dr Anders Sundstrom and colleagues from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, investigated suicide attempts before, during and after isotretinoin treatment for severe acne.

The authors assessed the data of individuals who had been prescribed isotretinoin from 1980 to 1989 and linked these to hospital discharge and cause of death registers from 1980 to 2001.

The data of 5,756 individuals were reviewed and 3,613 (63%) of them were male. The average age of men when they were first prescribed isotretinoin was 22 years and women were 27.

The results show that 128 patients were admitted to hospital following a suicide attempt. The authors also found that between one and three years before starting isotretinoin treatment the number of suicide attempts increased. However the risks were highest within six months after treatment ended.

Sundstrom and colleagues speculate that the increased risk after starting isotretinoin might be because patients whose acne and physical appearance improved following treatment were distraught if there was no improvement in their social life.

They believe it is impossible to say for certain that the continued rise in suicide risk "is due to the natural course of severe acne, or to negative effects of the treatment." They acknowledge that the increased risk could be "as a consequence of exposure to the drug" but believes "a more probable interpretation is that the underlying severe acne may best explain the raised risk."

The authors also stress that attempted suicide is an uncommon event -- one first suicide attempt would equate to 2,300 individuals being on isotretinoin -- and this assumes that the entire increase in risk was due to the drug, they say.

They conclude that "the most important proactive measure to be taken would be to closely monitor all patients' psychiatric status, not only during treatment, but also for at least a year after treatment with isotretinoin." In addition they say it is not only important to monitor the mental health status of patients receiving isotretinoin but also sufferers of severe acne who are not on treatment.

In an accompanying editorial, two senior researchers in Australia say that "it is difficult to tease out the relation between mental health and isotretinoin because acne itself is associated with psychiatric morbidity, including depression."

Parker Magin and John Sullivan say Sundstrom's research is important given the complexity of the issue and that it is essential that patients who are treated for acne with isotretinoin, especially perhaps those whose treatment is unsuccessful, need to be carefully monitored for depression and suicidal thoughts.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Anders Sundström, Lars Alfredsson, Gunilla Sjölin-Forsberg, Barbro Gerdén, Ulf Bergman, and Jussi Jokinen. Association of suicide attempts with acne and treatment with isotretinoin: retrospective Swedish cohort study. British Medical Journal, 2010; 341: c5812 DOI: 10.1136/bmj.c5812

Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Having severe acne may increase suicide risk, study suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 November 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101112075959.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2010, November 14). Having severe acne may increase suicide risk, study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101112075959.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Having severe acne may increase suicide risk, study suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101112075959.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Rural India's Low-Cost Sanitary Pad Revolution

Rural India's Low-Cost Sanitary Pad Revolution

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) — One man hopes his invention -– a machine that produces cheap sanitary pads –- will help empower Indian women. Duration: 01:51 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) — In Africa's only biosafety level 4 laboratory, scientists have been carrying out experiments on bats to understand how virus like Ebola are being transmitted, and how some of them resist to it. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — A recent test of a prototype Ebola vaccine generated an immune response to the disease in subjects. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins