Psychological medicine

Comparative risk of self-harm hospitalization amongst depressive disorder patients using different antidepressants: a population-based cohort study in Taiwan.

PMID 27659718


The aim of the study was to evaluate the comparative risk of self-harm associated with the use of different antidepressants. A cohort study was conducted using data from Taiwan's National Health Insurance Research Database from 2001 to 2012. A total of 751 606 new antidepressant users with depressive disorders were included. The study outcome was hospitalization due to self-harm (International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification codes: E950-E958 and E980-E988). Cox proportional hazards models with stratification of the propensity score deciles were used to estimate the hazard ratios of self-harm hospitalization during the first year following the initiation of antidepressant treatment. There were 1038 hospitalization episodes due to self-harm that occurred during the follow-up of 149 796 person-years, with an overall incidence rate of 6.9 [95% confidence interval (CI) 6.5-7.4] per 1000. Compared with fluoxetine, the risk of self-harm hospitalization was higher for maprotiline [adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) = 3.00, 95% CI 1.40-6.45], milnacipran (aHR = 2.34, 95% CI 1.24-4.43) and mirtazapine (aHR = 1.40, 95% CI 1.06-1.86), lower for bupropion (aHR = 0.51, 95% CI 0.30-0.86), and similar level of risk was found for other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (citalopram, escitalopram, fluvoxamine, paroxetine and sertraline). The risk of self-harm may vary across different antidepressant drugs. It would be of importance to conduct further research to investigate the influence of antidepressant use on self-harm behaviors.