Folic acid prescription and suicide attempt prevention: effect of past suicidal behaviour, psychiatric diagnosis and psychotropic medication

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We previously showed that folic acid prescriptions for any indication were associated with lower rates of suicidal behaviour. Given that future randomised clinical trials are likely to focus on psychiatric disorders carrying elevated risk for suicide, we now report on the moderating effects of prior suicidal behaviour, psychiatric diagnoses and psychotropic medications on potential antisuicidal effects of folic acid. Data were obtained from the MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters databases that cover 164 million insured persons from 2005–2017, from which a cohort of 866 586 patients was derived. Analysis revealed no significant moderation effects on the antisuicidal effect of folic acid. These findings indicate that the potential benefit of folic acid for preventing suicidal behaviour is comparable in psychiatric populations at higher risk of suicide and that it may be additive to any benefit from psychotropic medications.


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