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The purpose of this investigation has been to find data about the preceding psychopharmacological treatment for all persons who committed suicide in Sweden 2007.
The method used was to request relevant unpublished data from the National Board of Health and Welfare, and from the regional departments of the National Board of Forensic Medicine, mainly using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The Centre for Epidemiology in the National Board of Health and Welfare, has released data about all suicides in Sweden 2007 and the preceding psychopharmacological treatment in these cases. The six regional offices of the National Board of Forensic Medicine have released data about the autopsies done for 2007 and the psychiatric drugs found in the blood of the persons who had committed suicide. The regional offices of the National Board of Health and Welfare have released extensive data about all suicides committed in health care and within four weeks after last visit, which by law should be reported to the regional offices (one third of all suicides for 2007). The investigation is done outside the research community, as a critical journalistic project. In this there are certain limitations: the data forming the basis of the report are in parts subject to secrecy laws, meaning that the full picture cannot be presented.
The result shows that 1126 definite suicides were committed in Sweden in 2007 (325 women and 801 men). Of these persons 724 (64%) had filled a prescription for psychiatric drugs within a year of the suicide. Of the 325 women 250 (77%) had filled a prescription for psychiatric drugs; for the 801 men the figure was 474 (59%).
Of the 325 women 196 (60%) had filled a prescription for antidepressants; for the 801 men the figure was 306 (38%).
In the forensic toxicological analyses traces of psychiatric drugs were found in 575 persons (52%) of the 1109 analyses done. Traces of antidepressant drugs were found in 132 (41%) of the women investigated.
For the subgroup of suicides 2007 committed in health care and within four weeks after last visit (cases which by law should be reported to the regional offices of the National Board of Health and Welfare) it was found that 86% of the cases (338 of 393 reported cases) had got psychiatric drugs within a year of the suicide. In 304 of these cases (77%) the persons were treated with antidepressants and/or neuroleptics (antipsychotic drugs).
The conclusion is that a large percentage of the persons who committed suicide in Sweden in 2007 had received extensive treatment with psychiatric drugs within a year of and close to the suicide.