Recent findings did not indicate a causal association between methylphenidate treatment and suicide attempts.
“In 2009, the European Medicines Agency conducted a review of the safety of methylphenidate. The review concluded that further research on the association between methylphenidate and psychiatric adverse effects, including suicide risk, was needed,” Kenneth K. C. Man, MPH, of the University of Hong Kong, and colleagues wrote. “Although there has been some concern about a potential association between methylphenidate and suicide-related events, few studies have addressed this issue directly.”
To assess the association between methylphenidate and risk for suicide attempt, researchers analyzed data from a population-based, electronic medical database from the Hong Kong Clinical Data Analysis & Reporting System for 25,629 individuals aged 6 to 25 years who received methylphenidate treatment between 2001 and 2015.
Overall, 154 participants experienced their first suicide attempt during the study period. Of these, 72.1% were male.
Overall incidence of suicide attempts during methylphenidate treatment was 9.27 per 10,000 patient-years.
Participants had increased risk for suicide attempts during the 90-day period prior to methylphenidate initiation, with an incidence rate ratio (IRR) of 6.55 (95% CI, 3.37-12.72).
IRR remained increased during the first 90 days of treatment (IRR = 1.35; 95% CI, 0.77-2.38) and returned to baseline levels during ongoing treatment (IRR = 1.35; 95% CI, 0.77-2.38).
Incidence of suicide attempts was comparable between the 90-day period before and during treatment.
“The incidence of suicide attempts peaked before the start of methylphenidate treatment, remained high immediately after the start of methylphenidate treatment, and declined during continuation of treatment. Our data, therefore, do not support a causal association between methylphenidate treatment and suicide attempts,” the researchers concluded. – by Amanda Oldt
Disclosure: Man reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the study for a full list of relevant financial disclosures.