Excerpts from a report by Janne Larsson (Sweden) Published October 2009
Suicides 2007 – preceding psychiatric drug
The national agencies in Sweden, as those in other countries, are supposed
to compile, analyse and publish data about the psychiatric treatment given
to those who commit suicide. But the vital information presented below
has not been published.
In July 2005 the rules for the registries in Sweden were changed. From that point on
it has been possible for the national agencies to present more exact data about the
use of prescribed medications on an individual level 4. It is for example possible to
present information about which psychiatric drugs the persons who committed
suicide were treated with.
The information below about suicides for 2007 comes directly from the National
Board of Health and Welfare in Sweden; it is data that the agency have chosen not
1126 persons committed suicide in 2007, according to data from the National
Board of Health and Welfare 5, 325 women and 801 men. A registry study done
by the Board in July 2009 7 shows the following:
In total, 724 (64%) of all the 1126 persons who committed suicide in 2007 had filled
a prescription for psychiatric drugs within a year of the suicide. Of the 325 women,
250 (77%) received psychiatric drugs; for the men the figure was 474 (59%).
In total 502 (45%) of the 1126 persons had got treatment with antidepressants
within a year. Of the 325 women 196 (60%) had got antidepressants, for the 801
men the figure was 306 (38%).
In 86% of the cases of suicide reported to the National Board of Health
and Welfare for 2007 (chapter 4) – that is in 338 of 393 cases – the
persons were treated with psychiatric drugs. In 0% (!) of these cases was
the suicide reported as a drug adverse event to the registry for drug
adverse events at the Medical Products Agency (MPA).
Not in a single one of all these cases of suicide did the responsible doctor (in most
cases psychiatrists) consider that the tragic result could have been caused by the
psychiatric drug or that the drug was a suspected contributory factor for the fatal
Not a single adverse event report was submitted about the 338 persons
who committed suicide after having been prescribed psychiatric drugs!
If anything should be held up as evidence for the complete breakdown of the
adverse event reporting system, it must be this. If not even fatal results in the form
of suicides following extensive treatment with psychiatric drugs are reported to the
registry for adverse drug events, how should it then be with all other harmful effects patients are subjected to?
Doctors are to report all suspected serious drug effects to the Medical Products
Agency. This reporting requirement must also reasonably be extended to the
physicians at the National Board of Health and Welfare investigating the reported
cases of suicide. But none of these doctors has considered that the extensive
treatment with psychiatric drugs could have caused or strongly contributed to the
fatal result. None of them has submitted an adverse event report.