Antidepressants Reduce Odds of Suicidal Teens' Readmission

However, polypharmacy upon discharge with three or more drug classes increases readmission
By Jane Parry
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Dec. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Suicidal adolescents who are prescribed an antidepressant medication on discharge from the hospital are far less likely to be readmitted than those who are not given the drug, but patients who leave with three or more drugs from different drug classes are more likely to end up back in the hospital, according to a retrospective cohort study published in the December issue of The Annals of Pharmacotherapy.

Cynthia A. Fontanella, Ph.D., of Ohio State University in Columbus, and colleagues conducted a study of 318 adolescents enrolled in Medicaid who had been admitted to a psychiatric hospital for suicidal behavior. The researchers evaluated the patients' demographic profile, service and treatment history.

The researchers note that medication changes were common, with 78 percent of patients having at least one drug changed, and this was usually an additional prescription for a mood stabilizer, antidepressant or antipsychotic. Upon patient discharge, 23 percent of patients were given three or more drugs from different drug classes, which was associated with a 2.6 times higher readmission rate. Patients given an additional prescription for an antidepressant were 85 percent less likely to be readmitted.

"In this sample of suicidal adolescents, antidepressant treatment was associated with a lower risk of readmission and polypharmacy was associated with a higher risk of readmission," the authors write. "Study findings highlight the need for quality improvement efforts that optimize pharmacologic treatment and physician decision making."

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