Clozapine, ECT, Lithium May Prevent Suicide in Young Men With Severe Mental Illness

Regional clozapine, ECT, and lithium treatment frequency related to lower adolescent excess suicide mortality for 15- to 19-year-olds.

HealthDay News For male adolescents with severe mental illness, suicide prevention may benefit from clozapine, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), and lithium (CEL) treatment, according to a study published online March 14 in Nature Communications.

Adrian E. Desai Boström, M.D., Ph.D., from the Umeå University in Sweden, and colleagues used nationwide registers between 2016 and 2020 to examine prevention of suicide among adolescents across 21 Swedish regions.

The researchers identified a negative correlation between adolescent excess suicide mortality (AESM) and regional frequencies of CEL use among adolescents and males (β = −0.613 and −0.404, respectively), while no correlation was seen among females. Regions with the lowest-quartile AESM had the highest CEL usage among male adolescents. In 15- to 19-year-olds, regional CEL treatment frequency was related to lower AESM, reflecting potential treatment efficacy, treatment compliance, or better mental health care quality.

“The results signal that early intervention with medico-psychiatric treatment for severe mental illness can reduce suicide rates in late-teenage boys,” Desai Boström said in a statement. “The next step for the research group is to evaluate whether these treatments can also be protective for other severe psychiatric diseases with high mortality rates and a relative lack of effective treatment. For example, they hope to investigate whether ECT could be used for severely affected eating disorder patients with comorbid depression.”

Abstract/Full Text