Divalproex, lithium and suicide among Medicaid patients with bipolar disorder

Jon C. Collins, Bentson McFarland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

58 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Suicide completion and attempted suicide are major concerns for people with bipolar disorder. Studies in the private sector have suggested that lithium treatment may be superior to divalproex therapy with regard to minimizing suicidal behavior among individuals with bipolar disorder. However, few data are available regarding Medicaid patients diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Methods: Subjects were 12,662 Oregon Medicaid patients diagnosed with bipolar disorder and treated with medication between 1998 and 2003. Outcomes measures were completed suicide and emergency department visits for suicide attempts (including non-fatal poisoning). Cox proportional hazards models were used to adjust for demographics, co-morbidity, and concurrent psychotropic medication use. Results: Divalproex was the most common mood stabilizer (used by 33% of subjects) followed by gabapentin (32%), lithium (25%), and carbamazepine (3%). There were 11 suicide deaths and 79 attempts. Adjusted hazard ratios (versus lithium users) for suicide attempts were 2.7 for divalproex users (p <0.001), 1.6 for gabapentin users (not significant) and 2.8 for carbamazepine users (not significant). For suicide deaths, the adjusted hazard ratios were 1.5 for divalproex users (not significant), 2.6 for gabapentin users (p <0.001), and not available for carbamazepine users. Limitations: It should be noted that subjects were not assigned at random to medication use, data on prior suicide attempts were not available, medication use was measured by automated pharmacy records, and duration of mood stabilizer utilization may have been brief. Conclusions: Lithium may have a protective effect with regard to suicide attempts among Medicaid patients with bipolar disorder. It remains unclear whether or not lithium protects these patients against completed suicide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-28
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Volume107
Issue number1-3
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2008

Fingerprint

Medicaid
Valproic Acid
Bipolar Disorder
Lithium
Suicide
Carbamazepine
Attempted Suicide
Private Sector
Proportional Hazards Models
Poisoning
Hospital Emergency Service
Demography
Outcome Assessment (Health Care)
Morbidity
Therapeutics

Keywords

  • Anticonvulsant
  • Antiepileptic
  • Carbamazepine
  • Community mental health
  • Gabapentin
  • Mood stabilizer
  • Valproate
  • Valproic acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Neurology
  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

Divalproex, lithium and suicide among Medicaid patients with bipolar disorder. / Collins, Jon C.; McFarland, Bentson.

In: Journal of Affective Disorders, Vol. 107, No. 1-3, 04.2008, p. 23-28.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Collins, Jon C. ; McFarland, Bentson. / Divalproex, lithium and suicide among Medicaid patients with bipolar disorder. In: Journal of Affective Disorders. 2008 ; Vol. 107, No. 1-3. pp. 23-28.
@article{b5b0997a1b9843178f4ef0934a4c48ee,
title = "Divalproex, lithium and suicide among Medicaid patients with bipolar disorder",
abstract = "Background: Suicide completion and attempted suicide are major concerns for people with bipolar disorder. Studies in the private sector have suggested that lithium treatment may be superior to divalproex therapy with regard to minimizing suicidal behavior among individuals with bipolar disorder. However, few data are available regarding Medicaid patients diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Methods: Subjects were 12,662 Oregon Medicaid patients diagnosed with bipolar disorder and treated with medication between 1998 and 2003. Outcomes measures were completed suicide and emergency department visits for suicide attempts (including non-fatal poisoning). Cox proportional hazards models were used to adjust for demographics, co-morbidity, and concurrent psychotropic medication use. Results: Divalproex was the most common mood stabilizer (used by 33{\%} of subjects) followed by gabapentin (32{\%}), lithium (25{\%}), and carbamazepine (3{\%}). There were 11 suicide deaths and 79 attempts. Adjusted hazard ratios (versus lithium users) for suicide attempts were 2.7 for divalproex users (p <0.001), 1.6 for gabapentin users (not significant) and 2.8 for carbamazepine users (not significant). For suicide deaths, the adjusted hazard ratios were 1.5 for divalproex users (not significant), 2.6 for gabapentin users (p <0.001), and not available for carbamazepine users. Limitations: It should be noted that subjects were not assigned at random to medication use, data on prior suicide attempts were not available, medication use was measured by automated pharmacy records, and duration of mood stabilizer utilization may have been brief. Conclusions: Lithium may have a protective effect with regard to suicide attempts among Medicaid patients with bipolar disorder. It remains unclear whether or not lithium protects these patients against completed suicide.",
keywords = "Anticonvulsant, Antiepileptic, Carbamazepine, Community mental health, Gabapentin, Mood stabilizer, Valproate, Valproic acid",
author = "Collins, {Jon C.} and Bentson McFarland",
year = "2008",
month = "4",
doi = "10.1016/j.jad.2007.07.014",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "107",
pages = "23--28",
journal = "Journal of Affective Disorders",
issn = "0165-0327",
publisher = "Elsevier",
number = "1-3",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Divalproex, lithium and suicide among Medicaid patients with bipolar disorder

AU - Collins, Jon C.

AU - McFarland, Bentson

PY - 2008/4

Y1 - 2008/4

N2 - Background: Suicide completion and attempted suicide are major concerns for people with bipolar disorder. Studies in the private sector have suggested that lithium treatment may be superior to divalproex therapy with regard to minimizing suicidal behavior among individuals with bipolar disorder. However, few data are available regarding Medicaid patients diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Methods: Subjects were 12,662 Oregon Medicaid patients diagnosed with bipolar disorder and treated with medication between 1998 and 2003. Outcomes measures were completed suicide and emergency department visits for suicide attempts (including non-fatal poisoning). Cox proportional hazards models were used to adjust for demographics, co-morbidity, and concurrent psychotropic medication use. Results: Divalproex was the most common mood stabilizer (used by 33% of subjects) followed by gabapentin (32%), lithium (25%), and carbamazepine (3%). There were 11 suicide deaths and 79 attempts. Adjusted hazard ratios (versus lithium users) for suicide attempts were 2.7 for divalproex users (p <0.001), 1.6 for gabapentin users (not significant) and 2.8 for carbamazepine users (not significant). For suicide deaths, the adjusted hazard ratios were 1.5 for divalproex users (not significant), 2.6 for gabapentin users (p <0.001), and not available for carbamazepine users. Limitations: It should be noted that subjects were not assigned at random to medication use, data on prior suicide attempts were not available, medication use was measured by automated pharmacy records, and duration of mood stabilizer utilization may have been brief. Conclusions: Lithium may have a protective effect with regard to suicide attempts among Medicaid patients with bipolar disorder. It remains unclear whether or not lithium protects these patients against completed suicide.

AB - Background: Suicide completion and attempted suicide are major concerns for people with bipolar disorder. Studies in the private sector have suggested that lithium treatment may be superior to divalproex therapy with regard to minimizing suicidal behavior among individuals with bipolar disorder. However, few data are available regarding Medicaid patients diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Methods: Subjects were 12,662 Oregon Medicaid patients diagnosed with bipolar disorder and treated with medication between 1998 and 2003. Outcomes measures were completed suicide and emergency department visits for suicide attempts (including non-fatal poisoning). Cox proportional hazards models were used to adjust for demographics, co-morbidity, and concurrent psychotropic medication use. Results: Divalproex was the most common mood stabilizer (used by 33% of subjects) followed by gabapentin (32%), lithium (25%), and carbamazepine (3%). There were 11 suicide deaths and 79 attempts. Adjusted hazard ratios (versus lithium users) for suicide attempts were 2.7 for divalproex users (p <0.001), 1.6 for gabapentin users (not significant) and 2.8 for carbamazepine users (not significant). For suicide deaths, the adjusted hazard ratios were 1.5 for divalproex users (not significant), 2.6 for gabapentin users (p <0.001), and not available for carbamazepine users. Limitations: It should be noted that subjects were not assigned at random to medication use, data on prior suicide attempts were not available, medication use was measured by automated pharmacy records, and duration of mood stabilizer utilization may have been brief. Conclusions: Lithium may have a protective effect with regard to suicide attempts among Medicaid patients with bipolar disorder. It remains unclear whether or not lithium protects these patients against completed suicide.

KW - Anticonvulsant

KW - Antiepileptic

KW - Carbamazepine

KW - Community mental health

KW - Gabapentin

KW - Mood stabilizer

KW - Valproate

KW - Valproic acid

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=39749094359&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=39749094359&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.jad.2007.07.014

DO - 10.1016/j.jad.2007.07.014

M3 - Article

VL - 107

SP - 23

EP - 28

JO - Journal of Affective Disorders

JF - Journal of Affective Disorders

SN - 0165-0327

IS - 1-3

ER -