Background Evidence on sex-specific incidence and comorbidity risk factors of suicide among patients with bipolar disorder is scarce. This study investigated the sex-specific risk profiles for suicide among the bipolar disorder population in terms of incidence, healthcare utilization and comorbidity. Methods Using data from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database between 1 January 2000 and 31 December 2016, this nationwide cohort study included patients with bipolar disorder (N = 46 490) and individuals representative of the general population (N = 185 960) matched by age and sex at a 1:4 ratio. Mortality rate ratios (MRRs) of suicide were calculated between suicide rates of bipolar disorder cohort and general population. In addition, a nested case-control study (1428 cases died by suicide and 5710 living controls) was conducted in the bipolar disorder cohort to examine the sex-specific risk of healthcare utilization and comorbidities. Results Suicide risk was considerably higher in the cohort (MRR = 21.9) than in the general population, especially among women (MRR = 35.6). Sex-stratified analyses revealed distinct healthcare utilization patterns and physical comorbidity risk profiles between the sexes. Although female patients who died by suicide had higher risks of nonhypertensive cardiovascular disease, pneumonia, chronic kidney disease, peptic ulcer, irritable bowel syndrome, and sepsis compared to their living counterparts, male patients who died by suicide had higher risks of chronic kidney disease and sepsis compared to the living controls. Conclusions Patients with bipolar disorder who died by suicide had sex-specific risk profiles in incidence and physical comorbidities. Identifying these modifiable risk factors may guide interventions for suicide risk reduction.
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