Suicide risk in patients with anxiety disorders: a meta-analysis of the FDA database

J Affect Disord. 2002 Apr;68(2-3):183-90. doi: 10.1016/s0165-0327(01)00354-8.


Background: Previous reports of suicide risk in patients with anxiety disorders have been inconsistent.

Methods: Using the FDA database, we assessed suicide and suicide attempt risk among patients, participating in recent clinical trials evaluating new anti-anxiety medications, with diagnosis of panic disorder (PD), social anxiety disorder or social phobia (SP), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

Results: Overall, among 20076 participating anxious patients, 12 committed suicide and 28 attempted suicide. The annual suicide risk rate was 193/100000 patients and annual suicide attempt risk was 1350/100000 patients.

Limitations: Clinical trial data have limited applicability to clinical practice. Participants in clinical trials are a highly selected, nonrepresentative sample of the clinical population. A number of patients never complete clinical trials and thus data are based on a limited sub-sample. These trials were not primarily designed to assess suicide risk.

Conclusions: Suicide risk in patients with anxiety disorders is higher than previously thought. Patients with anxiety disorders warrant explicit evaluation for suicide risk.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anxiety Disorders / drug therapy
  • Anxiety Disorders / mortality*
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Cause of Death
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Databases, Factual
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / drug therapy
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / mortality
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / psychology
  • Risk
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / drug therapy
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / mortality
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology
  • Suicide / psychology
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data*
  • Suicide Prevention
  • Suicide, Attempted / prevention & control
  • Suicide, Attempted / psychology
  • Suicide, Attempted / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • United States Food and Drug Administration