Current Issue - May/June 2014 - Vol 17 Issue 3


  1. 2014;17;E359-E367Prevalence of Suicidal Ideation in Patients with Chronic Non-Cancer Pain Referred to a Behaviorally Based Pain Program
    Retrospective Review
    Martin D. Cheatle, PhD, Thomas Wasser, PhD, Carolyn Foster, MSN, Akintomi Olugbodi, MD, and Jessica Bryan, BA.

BACKGROUND: Patients with chronic pain often experience co-occurring depression and in some cases suicidal ideation. It is critical to discover risk factors for suicide in this vulnerable patient population.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the prevalence of suicidal ideation and identify potential risk factors in patients with chronic non-cancer pain.

STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective chart review.

SETTING:  Four hundred and sixty-six patients with chronic non-cancer pain referred to a behaviorally based pain program in a community health system.

METHODS: Data collected included pain intensity and level of pain interference (Brief Pain Inventory), pain duration, pain site, depression level (Beck Depression Inventory Fast Screen for Medical Patients), anxiety (Beck Anxiety Inventory), personal and family psychiatric and substance use disorder history, level of isolation, and demographic data. Univariate and logistic regression analyses were performed.

RESULTS: Results showed a high rate of suicidal ideation in this patient population (28%). Univariate analyses stratified by level of suicide (no suicidal ideation or passive/active suicidal ideation) revealed statistically significant group differences on pain location (extremity P = 0.046, generalized P = 0.047), work disruption (P = 0.049), social withdrawal (P < 0.001), pre-pain history of depression (P < 0.001), family history of depression (P < 0.001), and history of sexual/physical abuse (P < 0.001). Logistic regression revealed that history of sexual/physical abuse (Beta = 0.825; P = 0.020; OR = 2.657 [95% CI = 1.447 – 4.877]), family history of depression (Beta = 0.471; P = 0.006; OR = 1.985 [95% CI = 1.234 – 3.070]), and being socially withdrawn (Beta = 0.482; P < 0.001; OR = 2.226 [95% CI = 1.431 – 3.505]) were predictive of suicidal ideation.

LIMITATIONS: Measure of depression was not included in data analysis to reduce effect of co-linearity. Also the study population was a specialty pain clinic allowing for possible subject selection bias.

CONCLUSIONS: Results of this study are consistent with the prevailing literature on pain and suicide demonstrating a high prevalence of suicidal ideation in the chronic pain population. Novel predictive variables were also identified that will provide the basis for developing a risk stratification model that can be further tested prospectively in chronic pain patients.