Recent hospitalization is a risk factor for further suicide attempts — potentially related to patient care perceptions
WILMINGTON, Del.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– NeuroRx launches the first global “Voice of the Patient Survey” for those diagnosed with bipolar disorder, in collaboration with leading patient advocacy groups, mental health advocates and expert opinion leaders. The strictly anonymous survey, seeking 1,000 respondents, will allow for a greater understanding of the care people with bipolar disorder received during hospitalization for an acute suicidal crisis or a suicide attempt. NeuroRx is a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company developing NRX-101, a first-in-class drug for the treatment of Acute Suicidal Ideation and Behavior (ASIB) in bipolar depression.
Researchers concur that recent hospitalization for a suicidal attempt is a serious risk factor for further suicidal attempts. While many factors may contribute to this, including the underlying psychiatric condition, little data exists on the patient’s perspective about the care that was received. This survey will seek, for the first time, to understand where, and what types of care, succeeded or failed, to meet the patient’s needs through the eyes of those who have experienced the nightmare of suicidal depression.
The International Bipolar Foundation, Hope Xchange Nonprofit, Julie Fast (bipolar advocate and author of “Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder”), and Natasha Tracy (bipolar advocate and author of “Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar”), will help launch the survey and encourage the bipolar community to take part in the survey.
The risk of suicide in people with bipolar depression is 20-30 times greater than that of the general population and significantly higher than that associated with other depressive disorders. Over a five-year period, around 28% of patients with bipolar depression will attempt suicide, and 11% will succumb to suicide. There is currently no medicine approved specifically to reduce suicidal ideation and behavior in bipolar disorder. The current standard of care includes voluntary, or involuntary hospitalization and potentially electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).
“When a person attempts suicide, it is typically a symptom of an illness,” Natasha Tracy explains. “No rational person wakes up one day and chooses to take his or her life. It is the extreme pain that bipolar disorder can bring that causes this drastic symptom to manifest.”
“In our ‘Hope for Bipolars’ free peer mentoring program, those we mentor, who have been recently discharged from psychiatric hospitals for a suicide attempt, are frequently released back into the same toxic environment that contributed to their initial attempt,” explains Kerry Martin, CEO and Founder of Hope Xchange Nonprofit. “They have often been abandoned or misunderstood by their families and friends, are dealing with unbearable loneliness and are unable to advocate for themselves in an underfunded mental health care system devoid of compassion. They live alone in the dark without life purpose and without hope.”
“Though recent data shows that suicidal ideation in bipolar and other mood disorders has biological underpinnings, it is a complex syndrome,” said Robert Besthof, Chief Commercial & Patient Officer at NeuroRx. “Hence, it is also crucial to understand which other factors in the care received may contribute to someone having a positive or negative care experience, especially, if that individual would not want to go back to the same hospital. Understanding the patient’s perception of what worked and what did not, may help us design more patient-tailored care, including care provided in clinical studies.”
“We look forward to sharing the results later this year and thank the participating patients as well as the organizations and opinion leaders supporting this initiative.”
About Bipolar Depression and Acute Suicidal Crisis
Bipolar disorder, which affects 5.7 million Americans, is characterized by significant changes in mood, from mania or hypomania, to depression, often quite severe. The depressive phase, which is called “bipolar depression” and is distinct from the unipolar depression of major depressive disorder, can trigger thoughts of suicide (suicide ideation). For some patients, these thoughts can become strong, creating an urge to develop a plan and/or act upon them, making Acute Suicidal Ideation and Behavior (ASIB) in bipolar depression a uniquely lethal disease.
Many patients do seek medical care, or are brought to care by families and physicians, yet there is no approved medicine for the treatment of acute suicidal crisis.
Standard-of-care consists of hospitalized observation and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). In fact, most commonly-used antidepressants bear an FDA-mandated warning label identifying the potential to increase the risk of suicide. Studies show that patients are at continued high-risk for suicide after hospitalization for an attempt or suicide ideation.
Each day, approximately 100 Americans, and more than 2,100 people worldwide, end their lives by suicide, according to American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and the World Health Organization (WHO). NeuroRx estimates that more than half of all suicides may be related to bipolar disorder.
About NeuroRx, Inc.
NeuroRx, Inc. is a privately funded, clinical-stage pharmaceutical company, developing NRX-101, the first oral therapeutic for the treatment of Acute Suicidal Ideation and Behavior (ASIB) in bipolar depression. NeuroRx draws upon 30 years of basic science and clinical expertise in the role of the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA), a receptor that regulates human thought processes, particularly depression and suicidality. Currently, there is no approved drug for patients with suicidal ideation / behavior. Most antidepressants, including the SSRI class, carry an FDA “black box” warning for increased risk of suicide, leaving hospitalization and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) as the standard-of-care for people with bipolar disorder experiencing a suicidal episode. NeuroRx expects to start its phase 2b/3 clinical study of NRX-101 in a few months.
Learn more at NeuroRxpharma.com.
The survey link will be distributed through the digital channels of these advocacy organizations and authors. You can see it here.
Patient advocacy groups, author/advocates supporting this initiative:
- Hope Xchange Nonprofit
- International Bipolar Foundation
- Julie Fast – bipolar advocate and author of “Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder”
- Natasha Tracy – bipolar advocate and author of “Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar”