Antidepressants Reduce Suicides in Schizophrenic Patients

In a study looking at suicide rates in schizophrenic patients using various psychotropic drugs, it was found that treatment with antidepressants was associated with a reduced rate of death from suicide.  Benzodiazepines, however, were associated with a greater rate of suicide and taking multiple antipsychotics together had no effect.

The study followed 2,588 Finnish patients, who had recently developed schizophrenia, for an average of four years.  Finnish registries were used to assess the effect of the various drugs on mortality risk in the group.

Of this group, there were 35 cases of suicide.

The researchers found that when patients were taking antidepressants they had a 43% lower risk of death than when they were not taking them.  The decrease in suicide risk was 85%.

Among those taking benzodiazepines, there was a 91% greater risk of early death, most commonly from suicide, than when they were not taking the drugs.  In addition, most deaths occurred among  those who had been taking benzodiazepines for more than four weeks.  The authors speculated that this may have been due to withdrawal symptoms when the drugs ran out.

Taking multiple antipsychotics simultaneously had no effect on death rates, which the authors note is contrary to what is commonly believed.

The study appeared online May 7, 2012 in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

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One thought on “Antidepressants Reduce Suicides in Schizophrenic Patients

  1. Bi-Polar Disorder is the NEW way of saying schizophrenic! LOL Oddly enough this article says there are anti-depressants that are being used to treat schizophrenia and they reduce suicides? How are they accounting for the fact that when a Dr.. treats someone with a variety of anti=depressants and those antidepressants don’t work and they actually make the patient WORSE they then know that patient is not depressed. That patient is bi-polar/schizophrenic and they need a different type of drug and NOT an anti-depressant. Anti-depressants are actually used to DIAGNOSE a Bi-polar/schizophrenic disorder in a patient! I was on MANY anti-depressants and none of them worked for me. I was messed up to the point of having hallucinations when I was in the manic phase of my illness! When my Dr. finally learned about this they gave me meds that were not anti-depressants and they completely controlled the disorder. No more hallucinations. No more manic states. No more ANY of the strange things I was going through when I was on those antidepressants. I will never stop taking my meds because I value my sanity far too much.

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