The prevalence and risk factors of suicidal ideation in bipolar depression in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are poorly understood. This study is a secondary, cross-sectional analysis of a randomized controlled trial from Pakistan, a lower middle-income country. Participants included psychiatric outpatients aged 18 to 65 with a known diagnosis of bipolar disorder and currently in a depressive episode. Suicidality was assessed using the suicide item of the 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D) and levels of severity were categorized as absent, mild/moderate, or severe. Biometric data and biomarkers were obtained. Descriptive statistics were used to describe prevalence and logistic regression applied to establish correlates to suicidal ideation. Among the 266 participants, 67% indicated suicidality of any level and 16% endorsed severe suicidality. Lower body mass index (BMI) (OR = 0.93, 95% CI = 0.88-0.98), higher HAM-D score (OR = 1.29, 95% CI = 1.16-1.43), lower C-reactive protein (CRP) level (OR = 0.53, 95% CI = 0.40-0.70), and increased number of inpatient hospitalizations (OR = 1.16, 95% CI = 1.03-1.31) were identified as significant predictors of suicidality in the fully adjusted regression model. Our findings add to the limited literature on suicidality in bipolar disorder in the LMIC context and suggest roles of biological variables such as BMI and CRP level in predicting suicidal ideation and potentially suicidal behaviours in bipolar depression.
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