Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fewer suicides after antidepressive treatment for schizophrenia

Date:
May 8, 2012
Source:
Karolinska Institutet
Summary:
Antidepressive drugs reduce the mortality rate of schizophrenic patients, while treatment with bensodiazepines greatly increases it, especially as regards suicide. Giving several antipsychotics simultaneously, however, seems to have no effect at all. This according to a new study examining different drug combinations administered to patients with schizophrenia.

Antidepressive drugs reduce the mortality rate of schizophrenic patients, while treatment with bensodiazepines greatly increases it, especially as regards suicide. Giving several antipsychotics simultaneously, however, seems to have no effect at all. This according to a new study examining different drug combinations administered to patients with schizophrenia.

"We weren't aware that the beneficial effects of antidepressives were so powerful," says Jari Tiihonen, professor of clinical psychiatry at Karolinska Institutet's Department of Clinical Neuroscience.

The study followed 2,588 Finns who had recently developed schizophrenia from the time of their initial admission to hospital for an average of four years. By accessing the Finnish registers, the researchers were then able to ascertain the effects of different drug combinations on the mortality risk within the group.

A total of 160 people died in the study, most commonly from external causes such as drowning, poisoning or violent crime, something that affected 57 people. Thirty-five of these cases were suicide, which made it and cardiovascular disease the two main causes of death.

The researchers found that when taking bensodiazepines, the participants ran a 91 per cent higher risk of early death than at times when these drugs were not used. By far the most common cause of death was suicide, and most deaths occurred with patients who had been taking their bensodiazepines for longer than four weeks.

"The increased suicide risk for patients with long-standing benzodiazepine use may be partly attributable to the possible development of withdrawal symptoms when the drugs run out," says Professor Tiihonen. "These symptoms, which can be severe severe anxiety and insomnia, might have affected some of the patients' decisions to commit suicide. It's therefore extremely important that bensodiazepines are discontinued gradually rather than abruptly over a period of weeks or months and in consultation with a doctor."

"The temporary acute use of benzodiazepines is justifiable if the patient is suffering a great deal of anxiety," he continues. "But benzodiazepines should be discontinued within a month according to psychiatric recommendations, which doctors must start following and respecting."

During the periods the participants took antidepressive drugs, they ran a 43 per cent lower mortality risk than during the periods when these drugs were not used. Antipsychotics had no effect on mortality if the patients were on multiple prescriptions simultaneously.

"People think that it's dangerous to treat patients with schizophrenia with more than one antipsychotic drug, but there is nothing to back that up, says Professor Tiihonen. "I believe that most doctors prescribe several antipsychotics if their patients are not helped by just one kind, and our study finds no link between this and increased mortality during a four year follow-up. But it does mean more adverse effects, such as the risk of weight-gain, which also impacts the health in the long run, so the recommended attitude is still one of restraint."

The study was financed by EVO funding from the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and pharmaceutical company Janssen-Cilag.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Karolinska Institutet. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. Tiihonen, J. T. Suokas, J. M. Suvisaari, J. Haukka, P. Korhonen. Polypharmacy With Antipsychotics, Antidepressants, or Benzodiazepines and Mortality in Schizophrenia. Archives of General Psychiatry, 2012; 69 (5): 476 DOI: 10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2011.1532

Cite This Page:

Karolinska Institutet. "Fewer suicides after antidepressive treatment for schizophrenia." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 May 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120508103943.htm>.
Karolinska Institutet. (2012, May 8). Fewer suicides after antidepressive treatment for schizophrenia. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120508103943.htm
Karolinska Institutet. "Fewer suicides after antidepressive treatment for schizophrenia." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120508103943.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The brains of artists aren't really left-brain or right-brain, but rather have extra neural matter in visual and motor control areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) Pushing the limits on style and self-expression is a rite of passage for teens and even younger kids. How far should schools go with their dress codes? The courts have sided with schools in an era when school safety is paramount. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. 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:
from the past week

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