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Predictors of Suicidal Ideation Among IBD Outpatients

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Suicidal ideation (SI) is understudied in inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). We aim to determine SI rates among IBD outpatients and to evaluate predictors of SI.

Materials and Methods:

This is a prospective observational study of consecutive adult IBD outpatients over 18 months. Patients were screened for depression and SI using patient health questionnaire (PHQ-9). Demographic data were obtained from electronic medical record. Regression modeling was used for predictor analyses.


In total, 71 of consecutive 1352 IBD outpatients had SI. Significant correlations between SI and depression severity, tricyclic antidepressants (TCA), IBD-related quality of life, and low vitamin D levels were seen. Univariate regression showed that depression severity, TCA use, and quality of life predicted SI. Multivariate regression showed depression severity (β=0.46; P=0.002) and TCA use (β=0.31; P=0.012) made unique contributions.


SI is associated with depressive severity and less directly with IBD activity. Low-dose TCA, often used for chronic abdominal pain, is also a risk factor. Identifying the subset of IBD patients most vulnerable to SI can facilitate proper referrals to behavioral services and prevent progression to completed suicides.
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Keywords: depression; quality of life; suicide ideation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition 2: The Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences 3: Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

Publication date: January 1, 2019

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