Objective: Little is known about patient outcomes following discontinuation of opioid therapy, which may include suicidal ideation (SI) and suicidal self-directed violence (SSV). The purpose of this study was to examine correlates of SI and non-fatal SSV in a sample of patients discontinued from long-term opioid therapy (LTOT).
Method: Five hundred-nine Veterans Health Administration (VHA) patients whose clinicians discontinued them from LTOT were selected from a national cohort of VHA patients who discontinued opioids in 2012. The sample comprised patients with a substance use disorder and matched controls. Patient electronic health records were manually reviewed to identify discontinuation reasons and the presence of SI or SSV in the 12months following discontinuation.
Results: Forty-seven patients (9.2%) had SI only, while 12 patients (2.4%) had SSV. In covariate-adjusted logistic regression models, mental health diagnoses associated with having SI/SSV included post-traumatic stress disorder (aOR=2.56, 95% CI=1.23-5.32) and psychotic disorders (aOR=3.19, 95% CI=1.14-8.89). Other medical comorbidities, substance use disorder and pain diagnoses, opioid dose, and benzodiazepine prescriptions were unrelated to SI/SSV.
Conclusions: Among patients with a substance use disorder and matched controls, there are high rates of SI/SSV following opioid discontinuation, suggesting that these "high risk" patients may require close monitoring and risk prevention.
Keywords: Chronic opioid therapy; Opioid; Opioid discontinuation; Suicidal ideation; Suicidal self-directed violence; Suicide.
Published by Elsevier Inc.