Suicidal ideation and suicidal self-directed violence following clinician-initiated prescription opioid discontinuation among long-term opioid users

Michael I. Demidenko, Steven K. Dobscha, Benjamin J. Morasco, Thomas H.A. Meath, Mark A. Ilgen, Travis I. Lovejoy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective Little is known about patient outcomes following discontinuation of opioid therapy, which may include suicidal ideation (SI) and suicidal self-directed violence (SSV). The purpose of this study was to examine correlates of SI and non-fatal SSV in a sample of patients discontinued from long-term opioid therapy (LTOT). Method Five hundred-nine Veterans Health Administration (VHA) patients whose clinicians discontinued them from LTOT were selected from a national cohort of VHA patients who discontinued opioids in 2012. The sample comprised patients with a substance use disorder and matched controls. Patient electronic health records were manually reviewed to identify discontinuation reasons and the presence of SI or SSV in the 12 months following discontinuation. Results Forty-seven patients (9.2%) had SI only, while 12 patients (2.4%) had SSV. In covariate-adjusted logistic regression models, mental health diagnoses associated with having SI/SSV included post-traumatic stress disorder (aOR = 2.56, 95% CI = 1.23–5.32) and psychotic disorders (aOR = 3.19, 95% CI = 1.14–8.89). Other medical comorbidities, substance use disorder and pain diagnoses, opioid dose, and benzodiazepine prescriptions were unrelated to SI/SSV. Conclusions Among patients with a substance use disorder and matched controls, there are high rates of SI/SSV following opioid discontinuation, suggesting that these “high risk” patients may require close monitoring and risk prevention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-35
Number of pages7
JournalGeneral Hospital Psychiatry
Volume47
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017

Keywords

  • Chronic opioid therapy
  • Opioid
  • Opioid discontinuation
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Suicidal self-directed violence
  • Suicide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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