Suicidality: risk factors and the effects of antidepressants. The example of parallel reduction of suicidality and other depressive symptoms during treatment with the SNRI, milnacipran
CHRU Montpellier, Inserm U888, University of Montpellier I, Montpellier, France
Abstract: Suicidal behavior (SB) represents a major public health issue. Clinical and basic research suggests that SB is a specific entity in psychiatric nosology involving a combination of personality traits, genetic factors, childhood abuse and neuroanatomical abnormalities. The principal risk factor for suicide is depression. More than 60% of patients who complete suicide are depressed at the time of suicide, most of them untreated. There has been a controversy concerning a possible increased risk of SB in some depressed patients treated with antidepressants. Most recent evidence suggests, however, that treatment of depressed patients is associated with a favorable benefit-risk ratio. A recent study has determined the effects of 6 weeks of antidepressant treatment with the serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, milnacipran, on suicidality in a cohort of 30 patients with mild to moderate depression. At baseline, mild suicidal thoughts were present in 46.7% of patients. Suicidal thoughts decreased progressively throughout the study in parallel with other depressive symptoms and were essentially absent at the end of the study. At no time during treatment was there any indication of an increased suicidal risk. Retardation and psychic anxiety decreased in parallel possibly explaining the lack of any “activation syndrome” in this study.
Keywords: suicide, milnacipran, SNRI, activation syndrome
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