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Present smoking sturdy predictor of suicide, overdose amongst these with smoking historical past

March 14, 2023

4 min learn

This examine was supported by the Nationwide Coronary heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Hoth experiences no related monetary disclosures. Please see the examine for all different authors’ related monetary disclosures. Riblet experiences receiving assist from the Division of Veterans Affairs Medical Science Analysis & Growth Heart. Watts report no related monetary disclosures.

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Present smoking, use of sedative hypnotics and dyspnea elevated the chance for demise by suicide or drug overdose amongst adults with a smoking historical past with or with out COPD, in accordance with examine outcomes revealed in CHEST.

Additional, danger for suicide on this affected person inhabitants was not linked to airflow limitation, measured as FEV1 % predicted, or different measures of COPD severity, in accordance with researchers.

Knowledge have been derived from Adviento BA, et al. CHEST. 2022;doi:10.1016/j.chest.2022.09.022.

Karin F. Hoth

“An necessary facet of our findings was that the target measures of COPD severity (eg, airflow limitation from spirometry) that we examined weren’t related to suicide/overdose, though symptom severity, particularly dyspnea, was,” Karin F. Hoth, PhD, affiliate professor of psychiatry on the College of Iowa, advised Healio. “This discovering means that the subjective expertise of COPD is necessary in assessing suicide danger amongst people with smoking publicity. Additional analysis is required to look at how COPD and present smoking work together on suicide danger and whether or not there’s proof of synergy between these two converging danger components.”

In a potential cohort examine, Hoth and colleagues analyzed 9,930 adults (imply age, 59.6 ± 9 years; 53.4% males; 67.3% non-Hispanic white; 52.6% present people who smoke; imply BMI, 28.8 ± 6.3 kg/m2) with a 10-pack-year smoking historical past from the COPDGene Research to find out the components that may predict suicide or drug overdose mortality on this affected person inhabitants.

To guage time to suicide/overdose, researchers used Cox regression fashions that accounted for a number of time-varying unbiased variables prior to now yr: age, intercourse, race, BMI, pack-years, present smoking standing, airflow limitation, dyspnea (modified Medical Analysis Council Dyspnea Scale rating 2), 6-minute stroll distance, supplemental oxygen use and extreme exacerbations.


Of the cohort, 12.4% of adults had preserved ratio impaired spirometry, 26.8% had gentle to average COPD (World Initiative for Persistent Obstructive Lung Illness [GOLD] 1-2), 17.6% had extreme to very extreme COPD (GOLD 3-4) and 42.5% had regular spirometry.

Moreover, 18.9% of adults used antidepressants, 10.1% used sedative/hypnotics, 3.5% used antipsychotics, 2% used temper stabilizers and 0.5% used stimulants. Fourteen % of these with GOLD stage 3-4 COPD used sedative/hypnotics, which was the most important recorded use throughout teams.

Of the overall cohort, seven adults died by suicide and 56 died by overdose for a complete of 63 deaths throughout a median follow-up of seven.8 years.

Univariable fashions adjusted for age and intercourse demonstrated that race, BMI, present smoking standing, use of sedative/hypnotics and dyspnea all considerably have been linked to demise of suicide or overdose.

In a multivariable mannequin adjusted for univariable important components, age and intercourse, researchers noticed a number of danger components associated to suicide/overdose mortality together with a 6.44-fold (95% CI, 2.64-15.67) elevated danger with present smoking, a 2.33-fold (95% CI, 1.24-4.38) elevated danger with use of sedative/hypnotics and a 2.23-fold (95% CI, 1.34-3.7) elevated danger with dyspnea.

Conversely, older age (HR per decade = 0.45; 95% CI, 0.31-0.67), greater BMI (HR = 0.95; 95% CI, 0.91-0.99) and African American race (HR = 0.41; 95% CI, 0.23-0.74) confirmed a decreased danger for suicide/overdose mortality on this mannequin.

Imply FEV1 % predicted was 76.1 ± 25.5 for the overall cohort, however researchers famous this measure was not linked to danger for suicide.

Future research, suggestions for clinicians

The outcomes of this examine underscore the significance of incorporating subjective measures of illness symptom severity when assessing suicide/overdose danger amongst people with smoking publicity and COPD, in accordance with Hoth.

“Future research might be improved by gathering extra details about comorbid psychological well being situations at baseline in order that the impression of melancholy and nervousness might be included in modeling predicting suicide/overdose,” she stated.

Primarily based on the examine’s outcomes, clinicians ought to test adults with a smoking historical past and heavy symptom burden for melancholy, nervousness and suicidal ideation, Hoth added.

“Some ideas for the clinician who is anxious about danger for suicide/overdose for certainly one of their sufferers embody:

  • strategy interactions with sufferers with a peaceful, open, curious method asking about high quality of life and issues that matter to the affected person — a transfer towards whole-person care has a constructive impression;
  • familiarize themselves with figuring out stage of suicide danger and instruments accessible of their well being care setting, with suggestions accessible in an article by Weber and colleagues in Medical Clinics of North America;
  • contact household or mates with permission when wanted for info and assist;
  • work with the affected person or household to scale back entry to deadly means (eg, firearms, extra medicines); and
  • facilitate psychological well being remedy when acceptable, emergently if crucial.”

This examine by Hoth and colleagues emphasizes the significance of quitting smoking and implementation of a extra particular suicide danger evaluation for sufferers who’ve a historical past of smoking, in accordance with an accompanying editorial by Natalie B. V. Riblet, MD, MPH, assistant professor of psychiatry at Dartmouth Institute, and Bradley V. Watts, MD, MPH, affiliate professor of psychiatry at Dartmouth Geisel Faculty of Drugs.

“The outcomes reiterate the vital want to advertise smoking cessation as a technique to scale back morbidity and demise within the inhabitants,” Riblet and Watts wrote. “Sufferers who smoke closely may also be helped by gaining access to psychological well being remedy. Sufferers with comorbid COPD and melancholy or nervousness, particularly, can profit from pulmonary rehabilitation. Suicide danger evaluation on this inhabitants can also be improved by incorporation into the medical analysis particular components comparable to present smoking, use of sedatives, and the presence of dyspnea.”

For extra info:

Karin F. Hoth, PhD, might be reached at




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