ADHD Medicine Does Not Increase Suicide Risk—May Protect Against It

ADHDA comprehensive review of a national patient registry has shown that medicine for ADHD does not increase suicide attempts or suicide, as previously feared.[1] In fact, according to Swedish researchers, ADHD medicines may have a protective effect.1

“Our work in several ways shows that most likely there is no link between treatment with ADHD drugs and an increased risk of suicide attempts or suicide,” said Henrik Larsson, PhD, researcher at the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Karolinska Institute. “The results rather indicate that ADHD drugs may have a protective effect.”1

Previous research has indicated that ADHD drug treatment would increase the occurrence of suicidal thoughts; however, these studies have been small-scale and the methods have been limited, making the results uncertain.1 Therefore, to gain clarity, the Swedish researchers have used national patient registers to identify all patients in Sweden diagnosed with ADHD between 1960 and 1996: a total of 37,936 individuals.1

The study compared the rate of suicidal behaviors while the patients were receiving ADHD medicines, as with the rate for the same patients while not receiving ADHD medicine.1 The researchers determined that there was no evidence to support that ADHD drug therapy increases the risk of suicide attempts or suicide.1

“Many epidemiological studies on the risk related to drugs fail to adjust for the differences between individuals who take the drugs and those who do not,” said Larsson. “This is a critical limitation given that the individuals on medication are usually more severely ill than the others.”1

[1] Nauert, R. (2014). ADHD Meds Shown to Not Increase Suicide Risk – And May Protect Against It. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 20, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/news/2014/06/19/adhd-meds-shown-to-not-increase-suicide-risk-and-may-protect-against-it/71422.html

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