Antidepressants and suicide among young women in Sweden 1999-2013

Int J Risk Saf Med. 2017;29(1-2):101-106. doi: 10.3233/JRS-170739.


Objective: To establish whether the young women (15-24 year old) who committed suicide in Sweden (1999-2013) received antidepressant treatment or not, and to what extent, prior to and/or at the time of suicide. To investigate the belief that increased prescription of antidepressants would drastically reduce the number of suicides.

Methods: An analysis of data from the Swedish Prescribed Drug Register, the Causes of Death Register, with registers cross checked, and from the National Board of Forensic Medicine.

Results: This analysis shows a covariance between increased prescription of antidepressants and an increasing trend in the number of suicides among young women. In the period 1999-2003 antidepressants were found in toxicological analyses done in 23% of the young women who committed suicide, and in 39% of cases for 2009-2013.

Conclusion: An increasingly larger proportion of young women who later committed suicide, had in the last few years been treated with antidepressants, prior to and at the time of the suicide. The previous assumptions that treatment with antidepressants would lead to a drastic reduction in suicide rates, are incorrect for the population of young women. On the contrary, it was found that an increasing tendency of completed suicides follow the increased prescription of antidepressants.

Keywords: Antidepressants; suicide; toxicology; young women.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Antidepressive Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Young Adult


  • Antidepressive Agents