Antidepressant Prescribing and Suicides in Emilia-Romagna Region (Italy) from 1999 to 2008: An Ecological Study

Giuseppe Guaiana*
University of Western Ontario, London, Canada

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© Giuseppe Guaiana et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Regional Mental Health Care – St. Thomas 467 Sunset Drive St. Thomas (Ontario) Canada N5P 3V9; Tel: 001-519-6318510; Ext: 49468; Fax: 001-519-631-9224; E-mail:


Anti-depressant (AD) prescribing rose in several countries worldwide over the last 20 years. Some concerns have been raised over the fact that AD use, mainly Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI) may increase the risk of suicide. AD consumption and suicide rates data in Emilia-Romagna region, Italy have been extracted from regional government databases on AD prescribing and suicide rates, from 1999 to 2008. A statistical model using ordinary least squares linear regression was employed. The overall suicide rates decreased during the period under examination, in spite of the observed exponential increase in use of ADs. Despite the doubling in prescribing of SSRI and newer ADs in recent years, there continues to be no negative impact on suicide rates in Emilia Romagna.

Keywords: Suicide, antidepressants, italy, psychiatric epidemiology.