The relationship between sales of SSRI, TCA and suicide rates in the Nordic countries
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Background In the period 1990-2006, strong and almost equivalent increases in sales figures of selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) were observed in all Nordic countries. The sales figures of tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) dropped in Norway and Sweden in the nineties. After 2000, sales figures of TCAs have been almost constant in all Nordic countries. The potentially toxic effect of TCAs in overdose was an important reason for replacing TCAs with SSRIs when treating depression. We studied whether the rapid increase in sales of SSRIs and the corresponding decline in TCAs in the period 1990-98 were associated with a decline in suicide rates. Methods Aggregated suicide rates for the period 1975-2006 in four Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden) were obtained from the national causes-of-death registries. The sales figures of antidepressants were provided from the wholesale registers in each of the Nordic countries. Data were analysed using Fisher's exact test and Pearson's correlation coefficient. Results There was no statistical association (P = 1.0) between the increase of sales figures of SSRIs and the decline in suicide rates. There was no statistical association (P = 1.0) between the decrease in the sale figures of TCAs and change in suicide rates either. Conclusions We found no evidence for the rapid increase in use of SSRIs and the corresponding decline in sales of TCAs being associated with a decline in the suicide rates in the Nordic countries in the period 1990-98. We did not find any inverse relationship between the increase in sales of SSRIs and declining suicide rates in four Nordic countries.
© 2010 De Leo et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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Clinical Sciences not elsewhere classified