Michael Milane and colleagues (University of California, Los Angeles) analyzed suicide rates in the US general population from 1960-2002. Suicide rates fluctuated between 12.2 and 13.7 per 100,000 until 1988, and then gradually fell, with the lowest value of 10.4 per 100,000 in 2000.
The researchers also analyzed data on prescriptions of fluoxetine, which was introduced in 1988. There was an increase in the number of fluoxetine prescriptions, from about 2.5 million in 1988 to over 33 million in 2002.
Mathematical tests showed that the steady decline in suicides was statistically associated with the increased number of fluoxetine prescriptions (the more prescriptions, the fewer suicides). The authors hypothesize that fluoxetine might have saved 33,600 lives since its introduction.
Milane and colleagues acknowledge that the association they found between the fall in suicides and the introduction of fluoxetine cannot prove that the medication caused the fall. There may have been other reasons why the suicide rate declined.
Nevertheless, they argue that their findings are helpful in shedding light on the ongoing debate about whether fluoxetine (and other “SSRI antidepressants”) might trigger an increase in suicide. “Although the current issue concerning antidepressants and suicidality requires further examination,” they say, “we believe that many more lives have been saved than lost since the advent of these drugs.”
In a commentary on the new study, Bernhard Baune and Philippa Hay (James Cook University, Australia), who were not involved in the study, say that the type of study performed by Milane and colleagues cannot prove for certain “whether antidepressants do harm or good at a population level.” Nevertheless, they say that the study “does not support an association between increased suicide and increased fluoxetine prescription rates.”
Andrew Hyde | alfa
Team discovers how bacteria exploit a chink in the body's armor
20.01.2017 | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Rabies viruses reveal wiring in transparent brains
19.01.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences