Mortality and Suicide Risk in Treatment-Resistant Depression: An Observational Study of the Long-Term Impact of Intervention

Olin, Bryan; Jayewardene, Amara K.; Bunker, Mark; Moreno, Francisco
October 2012
PLoS ONE;Oct2012, Vol. 7 Issue 10, Special section p1
Academic Journal
Major depressive disorder is a common global disease that causes a significant societal burden. Most interventional studies of depression provide a limited assessment of the interventions on mortality and suicide risks. This study utilizes data from an observational registry of patients with major depressive disorder to determine the impact of intervention (vagus nerve stimulation or standard pharmacological/non-pharmacological therapy) and a latent factor, patient trajectory toward response, on mortality, suicide and suicidal ideation. A total of 636 patients were available for an intent-to-treat analysis of all-cause mortality, suicide and suicidal ideation. Patients treated with vagus nerve stimulation in addition to standard therapies experienced lower, but not statistically significant, all-cause mortality (vagus nerve stimulation 4.93 per 1,000 person-years vs. 10.02 per 1,000 patient years for treatment as usual) and suicide rates (vagus nerve stimulation 0.88 per 1,000 person-years vs. 1.61 per 1,000 patient years for treatment as usual). Treatment with vagus nerve stimulation produced a statistically lower relative risk of suicidal ideation 0.80, 95% confidence interval (0.68,0.95). Further, patients that responded to either treatment saw a 51% reduction in relative risk of suicidal behavior; relative risk and 95% confidence interval of 0.49 (0.41,0.58). In summary, we find that treatment with adjunctive vagus nerve stimulation can potentially lower the risk of all-cause mortality, suicide and suicide attempts.


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