Two extensive new investigations indicate that depressed people who take antidepressant drugs generally become less likely to attempt suicide.
Gregory E. Simon and James Savarino of Group Health Cooperative, a health maintenance organization in Seattle, analyzed medical and pharmacy records for 109,256 patients who had received depression treatment between 1996 and 2005. Patients' suicide attempts spiked during the month before starting treatment with medication, psychotherapy, or both. The frequency of suicide tries declined substantially during the 6 months after starting any of these treatments.
This pattern applied to teenagers and young adults as well as to older patients, the researchers say.