Polypharmacy and suicide attempts in bipolar disorder

Fernando Kratz Gazalle, Pedro Curi Hallal, Juliana Tramontina, Adriane Ribeiro Rosa, Ana Cristina Andreazza, Vanessa Zanatto, Aida Santin, Flávio Kapczinski, Keila Maria Ceresér

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The aim of this study was to assess the association between suicide attempts and the use of multiple drugs in patients with bipolar disorder. Method: One hundred sixty-nine bipolar disorder outpatients diagnosed using the DSM-IV Structured Clinical Interview were included. Demographic and socioeconomic data, number of medications currently in use, history of suicide attempts, number of years undiagnosed, age of onset and current psychiatric co-morbidities were assessed using a structured questionnaire and DSM-IV criteria. The main outcome measure was the number of psychotropic drugs currently in use. Results: Approximately half of all patients (48.5%) presented a history of suicide attempt; 84% were using more than one medication, and 19% were using more than three drugs. The most frequent combinations of drugs used by these patients were: lithium + valproate (17%); lithium + antipsychotics (10%); lithium + valproate + antipsychotics (9%); and antidepressants + any drug (6%). The number of suicide attempts was associated with the use of multiple drugs. Conclusions: Our findings support the notion that the use of combination therapy in bipolar disorder may be related to severity of the BD, such as number of suicide attempts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-38
Number of pages4
JournalRevista Brasileira de Psiquiatria
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Bipolar disorder
  • Mood disorder
  • Polypharmacy
  • Suicide
  • Suicide, attempt

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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