Although convergent lines of evidence indicate that one can expect a high rate of suicide completion for chronic pain patients, this problem has not previously been investigated. Follow-up data from our pain center revealed three chronic pain patients (two men and one woman) who completed suicide. These three cases are presented. The sequential nature of the data enabled us to calculate suicide rates for our chronic pain population and subsamples of this population: 16.5 women per year; 29.3 men per year; 57.1 white men and 34.9 white women in the age range of 35-64 years per year; and 78.6 white worker compensation men in the age range of 35-64 years per year. Calculation of the 95% confidence interval and comparison of these suicide rates to the general population of the United States using the Z statistic indicated that all chronic pain patient suicide rates were significantly greater than that of the general population. White men, white women, and white worker compensation men with chronic pain in the age range of 35-64 years are twice, three, and three times as likely, respectively, as their counterparts in the general population to die by suicide. Although no firm conclusions can be drawn because of the small suicide sample, these case reports indicate a need for further studies of chronic pain patient suicide rates at other pain centers.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine