UK Young Male Suicide Rates Declined Over Last Decade

February 15, 2008

The rate of suicide among young men in the United Kingdom has declined over the past decade, and restrictions on prescribing antidepressants to young people imposed in 2003 have not caused an increase in suicidal behavior, according to two studies published online Feb. 14 in the British Medical Journal.

<p>FRIDAY, Feb. 15 (HealthDay News) -- The rate of suicide among young men in the United Kingdom has declined over the past decade, and restrictions on prescribing antidepressants to young people imposed in 2003 have not caused an increase in suicidal behavior, according to two studies published online Feb. 14 in the <i>British Medical Journal</i>.</p><p>Lucy Biddle of the University of Bristol in Bristol, United Kingdom, and colleagues analyzed suicide trend data on men and women aged 15 to 34 years and found that suicide rates among young men are at their lowest level in almost 30 years, a phenomenon seen across all common methods of suicide. At the same time, risk factors for suicide including unemployment and divorce have gone down.</p><p>Benedict W. Wheeler, also of the University of Bristol, and colleagues looked at selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor prescribing trends in 12- to 19-year-olds in the UK and mortality and hospital admissions among 12- to 17-year-olds. They found that from 1999 to 2003, antidepressant prescribing doubled and that it returned to the 1999 level between 2004 and 2005 with no change in incidence of suicide.</p><p>In an accompanying editorial, Gregory Simon, M.D., M.P.H., of the Group Health Cooperative in Seattle writes, "The shifting association between antidepressant prescribing rates and suicide rates argues for caution in interpreting other ecological associations."</p><p>Financial relationships to the pharmaceutical industry were disclosed by authors in the second study and editorial.</p><p><a href="http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/abstract/bmj.39475.603935.25v1" target="_new">Abstract</a><br/><a href="http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/bmj.39475.603935.25v1" target="_new">Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)</a><br/><a href="http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/abstract/bmj.39462.375613.BEv1" target="_new">Abstract</a><br/><a href="http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/bmj.39462.375613.BEv1" target="_new">Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)</a><br/> <a href="http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/bmj.39482.666366.80v1" target="_new">Editorial</a></p>

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