Question

Schizophrenia

Is there a medication that prevents suicide in those with schizophrenia?

A Answers (1)

  • AMark Morocco, MD, Emergency Medicine, answered
    At least one medication may help reduce the risk of suicide for people with schizophrenia. The Food and Drug Administration has approved an antipsychotic medication called clozapine that may decrease suicide rates in people with schizophrenia. This medication is important because people with schizophrenia are at an increased risk of having suicidal thoughts and behaviors compared to the average population. In fact, 9 out of 10 people who commit suicide have a history of mental health problems. About 1 in 10 people with schizophrenia will commit suicide, most of them young men, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. This is much higher than the 1 in 10,000 people who commit suicide in the general population.

    Although clozapine may help reduce the risk of suicide for some people, it has some serious side effects. Clozapine can lower a person's white blood cell count significantly, leading to health problems. People taking this medication must have their blood levels checked several times a month.
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