Year: 2023 Source: Psychiatry Research. (2023). 325, 115236. SIEC No: 20231441
Bipolar disorder (BPD) is associated with high rates of suicide attempts but the anti-suicidal effect of mood stabilizing agents remains unclear. This study aimed to examine the association between mood stabilizing agents (lithium, valproate, lamotrigine, carbamazepine or antipsychotics) and risk of suicide attempts in patients with BPD using self-controlled case series study design. Among 14,087 patients with BPD who received mood stabilizing agents from 2001 to 2020 in Hong Kong, 1316 patients had at least one suicide attempts during the observation period. An increased risk of suicide attempts was observed 14 days before treatment initiation compared to non-exposed period. Following treatment initiation, an increased risk with smaller magnitude was found with the use of mood stabilizing agents. A lower risk was observed with lithium and antiepileptics while the risk remained attenuated with decreasing magnitude with antipsychotics. During 30-day post-treatment period, the risk was elevated. Therefore, this study suggests that use of mood stabilizing agents is not causally associated with an increased risk of suicide attempts. Indeed, there are potential protective effects of lithium and antiepileptics against suicide attempts. Assiduous monitoring of symptoms relapse and warning signs of suicide should be part of the management plan and discussed between clinicians, caregivers and patients.