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Prevalence, demographic characteristics, and clinical features of suicide risk in first episode drug-naïve schizophrenia patients with comorbid severe anxiety.

BACKGROUND: Both anxiety symptoms and suicide risk are common in schizophrenia. However, previous findings about the association between anxiety and suicide risk in schizophrenia were controversial. This study is the first to examine the prevalence of suicide risk and related demographic, clinical features in a large sample of first episode drug-naïve (FEDN) schizophrenia patients with comorbid severe anxiety.

METHODS: In total, 316 patients with FEDN schizophrenia were enrolled in this study. Patients' symptoms were assessed using the Hamilton Depression Scale (HAMD), Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAMA), and Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS). Serum levels of glucose, insulin, uric acid, and lipids including total cholesterol (TC), triglycerides (TG), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), were evaluated.

RESULTS: In the current study, 56.3% patients presented comorbid severe anxiety. The rate of suicide risk was higher in the severe anxiety group (55.6%) than in the mild-moderate anxiety group (33.3%). The interactions among severe anxiety, uric acid and HDL-C were associated with suicide risk. Compared with patients with normal uric acid, those with abnormal uric acid exhibited a stronger association between HAMA scores and HAMD-suicide item scores. This enhanced association was also observed for patients with abnormal HDL-C levels.

CONCLUSIONS: In FEDN schizophrenia patients with comorbid severe anxiety, our findings suggested a high incidence of suicide risk. Abnormal levels of uric acid and low levels of HDL-C, as well as high depression may be associated with an increased risk of suicide in FEDN schizophrenia patients with comorbid severe anxiety.

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