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Grimholt TK, Jacobsen D, Haavet OR, Sandvik L, Jorgensen T, Norheim AB, Ekeberg O. PLoS One 2015; 10(12): e0143934.


Department of Behavioural Sciences in Medicine, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.


(Copyright © 2015, Public Library of Science)






OBJECTIVE: To assess whether systematic follow-up by general practitioners (GPs) of cases of deliberate self-poisoning (DSP) by their patients decreases psychiatric symptoms and suicidal behaviour compared with current practice.

DESIGN: Randomised clinical trial with two parallel groups. SETTING: General practices in Oslo and the eastern part of Akershus County. PARTICIPANTS: Patients aged 18-75 years admitted to hospital for DSP. We excluded patients diagnosed with psychoses, without a known GP, those not able to complete a questionnaire, and patients admitted to psychiatric in-patient care or other institutions where their GP could not follow them immediately after discharge. INTERVENTION: The GPs received a written guideline, contacted the patients and scheduled a consultation within one week after discharge, and then provided regular consultations for six months. We randomised the patients to either intervention (n = 78) or treatment as usual (n = 98). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Primary outcome measure was the Beck Scale for Suicide Ideation (SSI). Secondary outcomes were Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and Beck Hopelessness Scale (BHS), self-reported further self-harm and treatment for DSP in a general hospital or an emergency medical agency (EMA). We assessed patients on entry to the trial and at three and six months. We collected data from interviews, self-report questionnaires, and hospital and EMA medical records.

RESULTS: There were no significant differences between the groups in SSI, BDI, or BHS mean scores or change from baseline to three or six months. During follow-up, self-reported DSP was 39.5% in the intervention group vs. 15.8% in controls (P = 0.009). Readmissions to general hospitals were similar (13% in both groups (P = 0.963), while DSP episodes treated at EMAs were 17% in the intervention group and 7% in the control group (P = 0.103).

CONCLUSION: Structured follow-up by GPs after an episode of DSP had no significant effect on suicide ideation, depression or hopelessness. There was no significant difference in repeated episodes of DSP in hospitals or EMAs. However, the total number of incidents of deliberate self-harm reported by the patients was significantly higher in the intervention group. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Trial registration Identifier: NCT01342809.

Language: en


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