Prevalence and Correlates of Suicidal Thoughts and Suicide Attempts in People Prescribed Pharmaceutical Opioids for Chronic Pain

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Objectives:The main objectives of the paper were (1) to examine the prevalence of suicidality in a large community-based chronic pain sample taking prescribed opioids for chronic pain; and (2) to examine general and pain-specific factors that predict such ideation, and the transition from ideation to making a suicide attempt (ideation-to-action).Materials and Methods:Baseline data from the Pain and Opioids IN Treatment (POINT) study with a cohort of 1514 community-based people prescribed opioids for chronic noncancer pain across Australia.Results:Past 12-month suicidal ideation was reported by 36.5% of the cohort and 16.4% had made a lifetime suicide attempt (2.5% in the last 12 mo), after the onset of their pain condition. Suicidal ideation in the past 12 months was independently associated with a past suicide attempt [adjusted odds ratio (AOR)=4.82; 95% confidence interval, 2.43-9.56] and past 12-month depression (AOR=4.07, 95% confidence interval, 1.88-8.78). Only a lower pain self-efficacy score was independently associated with past 12-month ideation-to-action (AOR=0.98, 95%CI0.88-0.99). Notably, only general-suicide risk factors were associated with 12-month suicidal ideation; but for past year ideation-to-action, pain-specific factors also had independent associations.Discussion:The study is one of the first to comprehensively examine general and pain-specific risk factors for suicidality in a large chronic pain sample in which suicidal ideation was common. A low pain self-efficacy score was the only factor independently associated past 12-month ideation-to-action.

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