Title

Utilization of prescription drugs with warnings of suicidal thoughts and behaviours in the USA and the US Department of Veterans Affairs, 2009

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

7-24-2012

Abstract

Objectives  To develop a list of prescription medications labelled with warnings for adverse effects of suicidal ideation or behaviour and to describe utilization in the USA and in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in 2009.

Methods  A systematic search of US Food and Drug Administration and other references using ‘suicide’, ‘suicidal’ and ‘suicidality’ was used to identify prescription drugs labelled for risk of suicidal ideation or behaviour. Prescription medications sold in the USA by sales volume are reported alongside VA utilization as determined from national electronic pharmacy records.

Key findings  One hundred and twenty-five prescription drugs were labelled for potential adverse effects of suicidal ideation or behaviour. Forty-five of these drugs were among the top 200 prescription medications sold in the USA in 2009 with a total sales volume of 540.8 million prescriptions. Rank-ordered utilization was similar in the VA. VA total fill volume was 5.99 million prescriptions.

Conclusions  The majority of prescriptions with adverse effect warnings of suicidal ideation or behaviour were generic. Relatively high volumes of drugs with warnings for suicidal ideation or behaviour are filled in the USA and in the VA.

DOI

10.1111/j.1759-8893.2012.00093.x