Year: 2013 Source: Archives Of Suicide Research.(2011).15(1):29-42. DOI:10.1080/13811118.2011.541146 SIEC No: 20130447

Adverse events (AEs) and serious adverse events (SAEs) are important outcomes of any intervention study yet are under-researched. Vague and variable definitions and substantial underreporting make comparisons of risk between studies difficult and evaluation of the safety of a particular intervention almost impossible. These realities may deter researchers from studying at-risk populations. Suicidal behavior is an adverse event in any study, and potentially a very serious one. Thus the issues of reporting and definition are particularly salient for researchers who work with populations at risk for suicidal behavior, especially when the suicidal behavior is the outcome of interest. We conducted a qualitative study with experienced suicide researchers and intervention experts to delineate the issues related to reporting serious adverse events faced by investigators conducting trials in suicide prevention. Participants from multiple sites were interviewed by phone, interviews transcribed and coded for definition and reporting issues and suggested solutions. A narrative synthesis was prepared and validated by all participants. Participants highlighted the difficulties in defining AEs and SAEs and stressed the importance and complexity of ensuring the AE was related to the study and reported properly, and were in agreement about the consequences of AEs to both institutions and individuals. Participants identified the need for the development of clear and consistent AE definitions and reporting requirements. Clear and consistently applied definitions of adverse and serious adverse events and reporting requirements would enhance the comparability of intervention studies in suicidal populations.