Year: 2004 Source: Medicine, Science and the Law, v.44, no.3, (July 2004), p.236-244 SIEC No: 20100360

The association between a decline in elderly suicide rates in England & Wales & changes in the prescribing of psychotropics for the period 1985-1996 was studied. Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient was used to examine this relationship. Highly significant negative correlations were found between elderly suicide rates & tricyclic antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, antimanics, antipsychotics, & analgesics. Highly significant positive correlations were found for monoamine oxidase inhibitors, hypnotics, anxiolytics, & barbiturates & elderly suicide rates. Results suggest prescriptions patterns may be an important contributing factor to the decline in elderly suicide rates but the effects of other health & social factors must also be considered. (25 refs.)