Increased suicide risk and clinical correlates of suicide among patients with Parkinson's disease

Taeyeop Lee, Hochang Benjamin Lee, Myung Hee Ahn, Juyeon Kim, Mi Sun Kim, Sun Ju Chung, Jin Pyo Hong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Introduction Parkinson's disease (PD) is a debilitating, neurodegenerative condition frequently complicated by psychiatric symptoms. Patients with PD may be at higher risk for suicide than the general population, but previous estimates are limited and conflicting. The aim of this study is to estimate the suicide rate based on the clinical case registry and to identify risk factors for suicide among patients diagnosed with PD. Methods The target sample consisted of 4362 patients diagnosed with PD who were evaluated at a general hospital in Seoul, South Korea, from 1996 to 2012. The standardized mortality ratio for suicide among PD patients was estimated. In order to identify the clinical correlates of suicide, case-control study was conducted based on retrospective chart review. The 29 suicide cases (age: 62.3 ± 13.7 years; females: 34.5%) were matched with 116 non-suicide controls (age: 63.5 ± 9.2 years; females 56.9%) by the year of initial PD evaluation. Results The SMR for suicide in PD patients was 1.99 (95% CI 1.33–2.85). Mean duration from time of initial diagnosis to suicide among cases was 6.1 ± 3.5 years. Case-control analysis revealed that male, initial extremity of motor symptom onset, history of depressive disorder, delusion, any psychiatric disorder, and higher L-dopa dosage were significantly associated with suicide among PD patients. Other PD-related variables such as UPDRS motor score were not significantly associated with death by suicide. Conclusion Suicide risk in PD patients is approximately 2 times higher than that in the general population. Psychiatric disorders, and also L-dopa medication need further attention with respect to suicide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)102-107
Number of pages6
JournalParkinsonism and Related Disorders
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Parkinson's disease
  • Psychiatric disorder
  • Risk factors
  • Suicide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Clinical Neurology


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