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1.  Right Ventricular Morphology and the Onset of Dyspnea: The MESA-Right Ventricle Study 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e56826.
The association of right ventricular (RV) structure and function with symptoms in individuals without cardiopulmonary disease is unknown. We hypothesized that greater RV mass and RV end-diastolic volume (RVEDV), smaller RV stroke volume (RVSV), and lower RV ejection fraction (RVEF) measured by cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in participants free of clinical cardiovascular disease at baseline would be associated with a greater risk of self-reported dyspnea.
The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) performed cardiac MRIs on participants without clinical cardiovascular disease between 2000 and 2002. We excluded subjects who reported “prevalent” dyspnea at the first assessment (24 months). The presence of dyspnea was assessed at 24 months, 42 months, and 60 months from baseline. Cox proportional hazards models were used to examine the relationship between RV measures and incident dyspnea.
In the final study sample (N = 2763), there were significant interactions between RV measures and sex in terms of the risk of dyspnea (p<0.05). Among men (N = 1453), lower RV mass (p = 0.003), smaller RVEDV (p<0.001), smaller RV end-systolic volume (RVESV) (p = 0.03) and decreased RVSV (p<0.001) were associated with an increased risk of developing dyspnea after adjusting for covariates. Associations remained after adjusting for left ventricular function and lung function. However, there were no significant associations between RV measures and the risk of dyspnea in women.
Lower RV mass and smaller RV volumes were associated with an increased risk of dyspnea in men, but not in women.
PMCID: PMC3574101  PMID: 23457622
2.  Matrix metalloproteinase-9 and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 are associated with right ventricular structure and function: The MESA-RV Study 
Elevated resistance and reduced compliance of the pulmonary vasculature increase right ventricular (RV) afterload. Local and systemic inflammation and haemostatic abnormalities are prominent in pulmonary vascular diseases. We hypothesized that plasma biomarker levels indicating greater inflammation and coagulability associated with pulmonary vascular disease would be associated with RV structure and function measured by cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) performed cardiac MRI among participants aged 45–84 years without clinical cardiovascular disease. We assessed the associations of RV mass, RV end-diastolic volume (RVEDV), RV stroke volume (RVSV) and RV ejection fraction (RVEF) with plasma measures of inflammation (matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-3 and -9, intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM)-1, tumour necrosis factor receptor (TNF-R1), and E-selectin) and thrombosis (plasminogen activator inhibitor (PAI)-1, tissue factor, tissue factor pathway inhibitor and CD40 ligand).The study sample included 731 subjects. Higher MMP-9 levels were associated with lower RV mass before and after adjustment for left ventricular (LV) mass (p = 0.008 and p = 0.044, respectively). Higher levels of MMP-9 and PAI-1 were also associated with smaller RVEDV (p<0.05). Higher PAI-1 levels were associated with lower RVEF even after adjustment for LV ejection fraction (p = 0.017). In conclusion, MMP-9 and PAI-1 are associated with changes in RV structure and function which could be potentially related to a subclinical increase in pulmonary vascular resistance.
PMCID: PMC3045574  PMID: 20923324
Inflammation; thrombosis; hypertension; pulmonary
3.  Modeling of the Temporal Patterns of Fluoxetine Prescriptions and Suicide Rates in the United States 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(6):e190.
To study the potential association of antidepressant use and suicide at a population level, we analyzed the associations between suicide rates and dispensing of the prototypic SSRI antidepressant fluoxetine in the United States during the period 1960–2002.
Methods and Findings
Sources of data included Centers of Disease Control and US Census Bureau age-adjusted suicide rates since 1960 and numbers of fluoxetine sales in the US, since its introduction in 1988. We conducted statistical analysis of age-adjusted population data and prescription numbers. Suicide rates fluctuated between 12.2 and 13.7 per 100,000 for the entire population from the early 1960s until 1988. Since then, suicide rates have gradually declined, with the lowest value of 10.4 per 100,000 in 2000. This steady decline is significantly associated with increased numbers of fluoxetine prescriptions dispensed from 2,469,000 in 1988 to 33,320,000 in 2002 (rs = −0.92; p < 0.001). Mathematical modeling of what suicide rates would have been during the 1988–2002 period based on pre-1988 data indicates that since the introduction of fluoxetine in 1988 through 2002 there has been a cumulative decrease in expected suicide mortality of 33,600 individuals (posterior median, 95% Bayesian credible interval 22,400–45,000).
The introduction of SSRIs in 1988 has been temporally associated with a substantial reduction in the number of suicides. This effect may have been more apparent in the female population, whom we postulate might have particularly benefited from SSRI treatment. While these types of data cannot lead to conclusions on causality, we suggest here that in the context of untreated depression being the major cause of suicide, antidepressant treatment could have had a contributory role in the reduction of suicide rates in the period 1988–2002.
An association has been shown between the introduction of the antidepressant fluoxetine in the USA in 1988 and a reduction in the number of suicides.
Editors' Summary
Depression is very common. For example, in the US, an estimated 10% of men and 20% of women will suffer from major depression at some stage in their lives. One way of treating the condition is with drugs. Several types of antidepressant drugs are available, and in many countries they are among the most commonly prescribed medicines. However, all antidepressants have side effects.
One family of antidepressants, called selective serotonin uptake inhibitors (SSRIs), was introduced in the late 1980s. The name of these drugs comes from their effect, which is to prevent the removal (reuptake) from the nerve endings of one type of chemical (serotonin) that is important for transmitting nerve impulses between brain cells. SSRIs are claimed to be more effective and to have fewer side effects than older antidepressants, and many brands of SSRI are now on the market. However, in recent years there have been claims that some people taking SSRIs have committed suicide as a result of the drugs. Whether the SSRIs are the cause of the suicide is hard to know, because people who are depressed do sometimes feel like killing themselves; so if a depressed person taking an SSRI commits suicide, it is hard to tell whether this is a result of the depression or a side effect of the treatment (the SSRI). The drug regulatory authorities in some countries are now carefully studying the issue of suicides and antidepressant use, both in adults and in children. The US Federal Drug Administration has issued what it calls a “black box warning” on the use of these drugs.
Why Was This Study Done?
The researchers wanted to discover whether the number of suicides in the US had increased or decreased since treatment with the first widely used SSRI (fluoxetine, also known as Prozac) began in 1988. Any difference in the number of suicides found before and after that date would not necessarily be the result of the introduction of this antidepressant, or other SSRIs, but the information would provide helpful information about the effects of these drugs.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
They looked at annual suicide rates between 1960 and 1988 and compared them with annual rates in the period 1988 to 2002. They used several sources of data, including the Centers of Disease Control and the US Census Bureau. The researchers found that from the early 1960s until 1988, in the entire US population, between 12.2 and 13.7 people in every 100,000 committed suicide each year. After that time, the numbers of suicides gradually declined, with the lowest figure (10.4 people per 100,000) reached in 2000. The researchers did mathematical tests, which demonstrated that the steady decline was statistically associated with the increased number of fluoxetine prescriptions—that is, the more prescriptions there were, the fewer suicides there were. (There were around two-and-a-half million prescriptions of the drug in 1988, increasing to over 33 million in 2002.)
What Do These Findings Mean?
In all scientific research, it is an important principle that finding an association between two events does not prove that one caused the other to occur. However, the authors of this paper suggest that the use of this drug could have contributed to the reduction of suicide rates in the US in the period 1988 to 2002. Several other SSRIs are also now in common use, but they were not considered in this study, nor were other antidepressants, or other treatments for depression.
Additional Information.
As depression is such a common condition—and because there are so many ways of treating it, including counseling and psychotherapy—there are many Web sites devoted to the subject. We have given a small selection below. Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
• From the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), general advice on depression
• Also from the AAFP, advice specifically about antidepressant drugs
• MedlinePlus brings together authoritative information about depression from the US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, and other government agencies and health-related organizations
• Health pages of the BBC on depression
• Information about depression from other UK health advice sites: Patient UK and
PMCID: PMC1475655  PMID: 16768544
4.  Antidepressant treatment and the risk of fatal and non-fatal self harm in first episode depression: nested case-control study 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2005;330(7488):389.
Objective To compare the risk of non-fatal self harm and suicide in patients taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) with that of patients taking tricyclic antidepressants, as well as between different SSRIs and different tricyclic antidepressants.
Design Nested case-control study.
Setting Primary care in the United Kingdom.
Participants 146 095 individuals with a first prescription of an antidepressant for depression.
Main outcome measures Suicide and non-fatal self harm.
Results 1968 cases of non-fatal self harm and 69 suicides occurred. The overall adjusted odds ratio of non-fatal self harm was 0.99 (95% confidence interval 0.86 to 1.14) and that of suicide 0.57 (0.26 to 1.25) in people prescribed SSRIs compared with those prescribed tricyclic antidepressants. We found little evidence that associations differed over time since starting or stopping treatment. We found some evidence that risks of non-fatal self harm in people prescribed SSRIs compared with those prescribed tricyclic antidepressants differed by age group (interaction P = 0.02). The adjusted odds ratio of non-fatal self harm for people prescribed SSRIs compared with users of tricylic antidepressants for those aged 18 or younger was 1.59 (1.01 to 2.50), but no association was apparent in other age groups. No suicides occurred in those aged 18 or younger currently or recently prescribed tricyclic antidepressants or SSRIs.
Conclusion We found no evidence that the risk of suicide or non-fatal self harm in adults prescribed SSRIs was greater than in those prescribed tricyclic antidepressants. We found some weak evidence of an increased risk of non-fatal self harm for current SSRI use among those aged 18 or younger. However, preferential prescribing of SSRIs to patients at higher risk of suicidal behaviour cannot be ruled out.
PMCID: PMC549107  PMID: 15718538
5.  Relationship of CRP, IL-6, and Fibrinogen with Right Ventricular Structure and Function: The MESA-Right Ventricle Study 
International journal of cardiology  2013;168(4):3818-3824.
Inflammation contributes to the pathogenesis of disease associated with the left ventricle (LV); yet, our understanding of the effect of inflammation on the right ventricle (RV) is quite limited.
Methods and results
The relationships of C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6) and fibrinogen with RV morphology and function (from cardiac MRI) were examined in participants free of clinical cardiovascular disease (n=4,009) from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA)-RV study. Multivariable regressions (linear, quantile [25th and 75th] and generalized additive models [GAM]) were used to examine the independent association of CRP, IL-6 and fibrinogen with RV mass, RV end-diastolic volume (RVEDV), RV end-systolic volume (RVESV), RV stroke volume (RVSV) and RV ejection fraction (RVEF). Unadjusted and adjusted analyses revealed strong inverse associations between both CRP and IL-6 with RV mass, RVEDV, RVESV and RVSV (all p<0.01); there were no associations with RVEF. These relationships remained significant after adjustment for the respective LV parameters and lung function. However, GAM models suggested that extreme values of CRP and IL-6 might have positive associations with RV parameters. Fibrinogen showed significant associations in unadjusted models, but no associations after adjustment or in sensitivity analyses.
Levels of CRP and IL-6 are independently associated with RV morphology even after adjustment for the respective LV measure in this multi-ethnic population free of cardiovascular disease. Systemic inflammation may contribute to RV structural changes independent of effects on the LV.
PMCID: PMC3805818  PMID: 23932860
Systemic inflammation; right ventricle; heart failure; Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis
6.  Escitalopram reduces attentional performance in anxious older adults with high-expression genetic variants at serotonin 2A and 1B receptors 
Older adults are among the most vulnerable to adverse cognitive effects of psychotropic medications and, therefore, the personalization of psychotropic treatment based on adverse drug reactions in this demographic is of great importance. We examined changes on neuropsychological tests of attention attributable to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) treatment in anxious older adults. We also examined whether variation in serotonin receptor genes was associated with reduced attentional performance with SSRIs. We examined change from pre- to post-treatment in two attention measures – digit span and coding – in 133 adults aged ≥60 yr with generalized anxiety disorder in a 12-wk trial of escitalopram vs. placebo. We also examined attentional change in relation to genetic variability in four central serotonin receptors: the serotonin transporter and serotonin 1A, 2A and 1B receptors. Digit span scores were significantly lowered in patients receiving escitalopram relative to placebo, indicating reduced attentional performance attributable to the SSRI. Individuals with high-transcription variants in the receptors 5-HTR2A rs6311 and 5-HTR1B rs11568817 had greater reductions in attention with SSRI treatment compared to placebo. We conclude that SSRIs reduce attention in older adults, particularly in those with high-expression genetic variants at the serotonin 2A and 1B receptors. Analysing neuropsychological changes with SSRIs in relation to genetic variation in the serotonin system may be a useful strategy for detecting subgroups of older adults who are more susceptible to side-effects of SSRIs. These results, if confirmed, could lead to the personalization of SSRI use to reduce adverse neurocognitive effects.
PMCID: PMC3967864  PMID: 22717018
Anxiety; antidepressant; elderly; neuropsychological functioning; pharmacogenomics
7.  Sertraline exposure leads to small left heart syndrome in adult mice 
Pediatric research  2012;73(3):286-293.
Sertraline, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), is the most commonly prescribed therapy for maternal depression. Epidemiologic studies have linked SSRI exposure with decreased fetal growth, altered autonomic regulation, and cardiac malformations. We hypothesized SSRI exposure decreases left ventricular volumes and increases adult sympathetic nervous system activation, resulting in increased adult heart rates.
C57BL/6 mice received saline or sertraline (5 or 15 mg/kg/day i.p.) on postnatal days 1–14. Adult phenotypes were assessed at 5 months.
Sertraline-exposed mice had smaller left ventricular internal diameters in diastole (control 4.0 ± 0.1 mm, SSRI 3.7 ± 0.1 mm, p < 0.05), decreased stroke volumes (control 46 ± 2.6 μL, SSRI 37 ± 2.3 μL, p < 0.05), higher heart rates (control 530 ± 13 beats per minute (bpm), SSRI 567 ± 6 bpm, p <0.05) and increased urinary excretion of noradrenaline (control 174 ± 29.4 ng/mL, SSRI 276 ± 35.1 ng/mL, p<0.05). These changes were associated with increased cerebral serotonin transporter (5-HTT) expression.
Neonatal sertraline exposure causes long term changes in cardiac morphology and physiology. We speculate that early life SSRI exposure impairs cardiomyocyte growth and central serotonin signaling, leading to a small left heart syndrome in adult mice.
PMCID: PMC3607080  PMID: 23232669
8.  Risk of bleeding associated with combined use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and antiplatelet therapy following acute myocardial infarction 
Patients prescribed antiplatelet treatment to prevent recurrent acute myocardial infarction are often also given a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) to treat coexisting depression. Use of either treatment may increase the risk of bleeding. We assessed the risk of bleeding among patients taking both medications following acute myocardial infarction.
We conducted a retrospective cohort study using hospital discharge abstracts, physician billing information, medication reimbursement claims and demographic data from provincial health services administrative databases. We included patients 50 years of age or older who were discharged from hospital with antiplatelet therapy following acute myocardial infarction between January 1998 and March 2007. Patients were followed until admission to hospital due to a bleeding episode, admission to hospital due to recurrent acute myocardial infarction, death or the end of the study period.
The 27 058 patients in the cohort received the following medications at discharge: acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) (n = 14 426); clopidogrel (n = 2467), ASA and clopidogrel (n = 9475); ASA and an SSRI (n = 406); ASA, clopidogrel and an SSRI (n = 239); or clopidogrel and an SSRI (n = 45). Compared with ASA use alone, the combined use of an SSRI with antiplatelet therapy was associated with an increased risk of bleeding (ASA and SSRI: hazard ratio [HR] 1.42, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.08–1.87; ASA, clopidogrel and SSRI: HR 2.35, 95% CI 1.61–3.42). Compared with dual antiplatelet therapy alone (ASA and clopidogrel), combined use of an SSRI and dual antiplatelet therapy was associated with an increased risk of bleeding (HR 1.57, 95% CI 1.07–2.32).
Patients taking an SSRI together with ASA or dual antiplatelet therapy following acute myocardial infarction were at increased risk of bleeding.
PMCID: PMC3216455  PMID: 21948719
9.  Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and suicide in adults: meta-analysis of drug company data from placebo controlled, randomised controlled trials submitted to the MHRA's safety review 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2005;330(7488):385.
Objective To investigate whether selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants are associated with an increased risk of suicide related outcomes in adults.
Design Meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials of SSRIs compared with placebo in adults submitted by pharmaceutical companies to the safety review of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Participants Over 40 000 individuals participating in 477 randomised controlled trials.
Main outcome measures Suicide, non-fatal self harm, and suicidal thoughts.
Results An estimated 16 suicides, 172 episodes of non-fatal self harm, and 177 episodes of suicidal thoughts were reported. We found no evidence that SSRIs increased the risk of suicide, but important protective or hazardous effects cannot be excluded (odds ratio 0.85, 95% credible interval 0.20 to 3.40). We found weak evidence of an increased risk of self harm (1.57, 0.99 to 2.55). Risk estimates for suicidal thoughts were compatible with a modest protective or adverse effect (0.77, 0.37 to 1.55). The relative frequency of reported self harm and suicidal thoughts in the trials compared with suicide indicates non-fatal end points were under-recorded.
Conclusion Increased risks of suicide and self harm caused by SSRIs cannot be ruled out, but larger trials with longer follow up are required to assess the balance of risks and benefits fully. Any such risks should be balanced against the effectiveness of SSRIs in treating depression. When prescribing SSRIs, clinicians should warn patients of the possible risk of suicidal behaviour and monitor patients closely in the early stages of treatment.
PMCID: PMC549105  PMID: 15718537
10.  Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors and Gastrointestinal Bleeding: A Case-Control Study 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(5):e19819.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have been associated with upper gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding. Given their worldwide use, even small risks account for a large number of cases. This study has been conducted with carefully collected information to further investigate the relationship between SSRIs and upper GI bleeding.
We conducted a case-control study in hospitals in Spain and in Italy. Cases were patients aged ≥18 years with a primary diagnosis of acute upper GI bleeding diagnosed by endoscopy; three controls were matched by sex, age, date of admission (within 3 months) and hospital among patients who were admitted for elective surgery for non-painful disorders. Exposures to SSRIs, other antidepressants and other drugs were defined as any use of these drugs in the 7 days before the day on which upper gastrointestinal bleeding started (index day).
581 cases of upper GI bleeding and 1358 controls were considered eligible for the study; no differences in age or sex distribution were observed between cases and controls after matching. Overall, 4.0% of the cases and 3.3% of controls used an SSRI antidepressant in the week before the index day. No significant risk of upper GI bleeding was encountered for SSRI antidepressants (adjusted odds ratio, 1.06, 95% CI, 0.57–1.96) or for whichever other grouping of antidepressants.
The results of this case-control study showed no significant increase in upper GI bleeding with SSRIs and provide good evidence that the magnitude of any increase in risk is not greater than 2.
PMCID: PMC3097219  PMID: 21625637
11.  Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor use associates with apathy among depressed elderly: a case-control study 
It has been reported for over the past decade that the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI's) may associate with the emergence of apathy. The authors hypothesized that depressed patients treated with SSRI's would show more signs of apathy than patients treated with non-SSRI antidepressants. This case control study was conducted to investigate the possibility of the association between SSRI use and the occurrence of apathy.
Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care's Day Hospital Database of elderly depressed patients who received antidepressants was divided into 2 groups depending on antidepressant use at discharge: SSRI user group-SUG, and non-SSRI user group-NSUG. Apathy scales developed by the authors were selected from the Geriatric depression Scale (GDS) and the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAMD), and were titled as GDS-apathy subscale (GAS) and HAMD-apathy subscale (HAS). Demographic data, baseline apathy, underlying medical conditions and medication use were studied. Proportion, analysis of variances, Chi-square test, odds ratio with 95% confidence interval were reported.
Among 384 patients (160 SUG and 224 NSUG), mean GDS and HAM-D at discharge were 12.46 and 10.61 in SUG, and were 11.37 and 9.30 in NSUG, respectively. Using GAS for apathy assessment, 83.7% of patients in SUG and 73.4% in NSUG stayed apathetic at discharge. As evaluated by HAS, 44.2% of patients in SUG and 36.5% in NSUG stayed apathetic. SSRI use was not a predictor of apathy at admission, while it was at discharge, p = 0.029. The SUG showed more patients with apathy than that found in NSUG (adjusted OR = 1.90 (1.14–3.17). Age 70–75 years tended to be a predictor for the apathy (p = 0.058). Using HAS, age 70–75 years and living situation were associated with apathy at discharge, p = 0.032 and 0.038 respectively.
Even though depression was improved in elderly patients receiving antidepressants, apathy appeared to be greater in patients who were treated with SSRI than that found in patients who were not. Frontal lobe dysfunction due to alteration of serotonin is considered to be one of the possibilities.
PMCID: PMC1820592  PMID: 17313684
12.  Are commonly-used psychoactive medications associated with lower urinary tract symptoms? 
Lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) such as urinary frequency and urgency are bothersome and associated with reduced quality-of-life. Atypical antipsychotics (AAPs) have been implicated in increasing the risk of urinary incontinence. In a large community-based sample of men and women, we examined the associations of AAP use and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRIs) use with LUTS.
Data were collected (2002–2005) from a generalizable sample of Boston, MA, USA residents aged 30–79 (N=5503). LUTS were assessed using the American Urologic Association Symptom Index (AUA-SI). The prevalence of clinically-significant LUTS was estimated using a cutoff AUA-SI score of 8+ to indicate moderate-to-severe symptoms. Confounder-adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated from multivariate logistic regression to estimate the associations for psychoactive drugs used in the previous month (SSRIs, AAPs, both) and LUTS.
Among women, AAP users had a higher prevalence of LUTS (46.2%) compared to SSRI users (23.5%) and those with depressive symptoms not using SSRIs or AAPs (26.3%). Corresponding prevalence estimates among men were 32.7%, 29.8%, and 33.3%. In multivariate models, AAP use was significantly associated with LUTS among women when used either with SSRIs (OR=2.72, 95%CI:1.45–5.10), or without SSRIs (OR=3.05, 95%CI:1.30–7.16) but SSRI use without AAP use was not associated with LUTS, compared to non-users without depressive symptoms. No associations were observed among men.
In our study, AAPs but not SSRIs were associated with increased prevalence of LUTS among women only. Further prospective research is needed to determine time sequence and cause-and-effect.
PMCID: PMC3538827  PMID: 22138718
antipsychotic agents; antidepressive agents; urination disorders; pharmacoepidemiology; epidemiology
13.  Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors in pregnancy and congenital malformations: population based cohort study 
Objective To investigate any association between selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) taken during pregnancy and congenital major malformations.
Design Population based cohort study.
Participants 493 113 children born in Denmark, 1996-2003.
Main outcome measure Major malformations categorised according to Eurocat (European Surveillance of Congenital Anomalies) with additional diagnostic grouping of heart defects. Nationwide registers on medical redemptions (filled prescriptions), delivery, and hospital diagnosis provided information on mothers and newborns. Follow-up data available to December 2005.
Results Redemptions for SSRIs were not associated with major malformations overall but were associated with septal heart defects (odds ratio 1.99, 95% confidence interval 1.13 to 3.53). For individual SSRIs, the odds ratio for septal heart defects was 3.25 (1.21 to 8.75) for sertraline, 2.52 (1.04 to 6.10) for citalopram, and 1.34 (0.33 to 5.41) for fluoxetine. Redemptions for more than one type of SSRI were associated with septal heart defects (4.70, 1.74 to 12.7)). The absolute increase in the prevalence of malformations was low—for example, the prevalence of septal heart defects was 0.5% (2315/493 113) among unexposed children, 0.9% (12/1370) among children whose mothers were prescribed any SSRI, and 2.1% (4/193) among children whose mothers were prescribed more than one type of SSRI.
Conclusion There is an increased prevalence of septal heart defects among children whose mothers were prescribed an SSRI in early pregnancy, particularly sertraline and citalopram. The largest association was found for children of women who redeemed prescriptions for more than one type of SSRI.
PMCID: PMC2749925  PMID: 19776103
14.  Antidepressants increase neural progenitor cells in the human hippocampus 
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) increase neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus (DG) of rodents and nonhuman primates. We determined whether SSRIs or TCAs increase neural progenitor (NPCs) and dividing cells in the human DG in major depressive disorder (MDD).
Whole frozen hippocampi from untreated subjects with MDD (N = 5), antidepressant-treated MDD (MDDT, N = 7), and controls (C, N = 7) were fixed, sectioned and immunostained for NPCs and dividing cell markers (nestin and Ki-67 respectively), NeuN and GFAP, in single and double labeling. NPC and dividing cell numbers in the DG were estimated by stereology. Clinical data were obtained by psychological autopsy and toxicological and neuropathological examination performed in all subjects.
NPCs decreased with age (p = 0.034). Females had more NPCs than males (p = 0.023). Correcting for age and sex, MDDT receiving SSRIs had more NPCs than untreated MDD (p ≤ 0.001) and controls (p ≤ 0.001), NPCs were not different in SSRIs- and TCAs-treated MDDT (p = 0.169). Dividing cell number, unaffected by age or sex, was greater in MDDT receiving TCAs than in untreated MDD (p ≤ 0.001), SSRI-treated MDD (p = 0.001) and controls (p ≤ 0.001). The NPCs and dividing cells increase in MDDT was localized to the rostral DG. MDDT had a larger DG volume compared with untreated MDD or controls (p = 0.009).
Antidepressants increase neural progenitor cell number in the anterior human dentate gyrus. Whether this finding is critical or necessary for the antidepressants effect remains to be determined.
PMCID: PMC2743790  PMID: 19606083
Adult neurogenesis; Ki-67; nestin; major depressive disorder; SSRIs; tricyclic antidepressants
15.  Antidepressant Class, Age, and the Risk of Deliberate Self-Harm: A Propensity Score Matched Cohort Study of SSRI and SNRI Users in the US 
CNS drugs  2014;28(1):79-88.
The US Food and Drug Administration’s meta-analyses of placebo-controlled antidepressant trials found approximately twice the rate of suicidal behaviors among children and adults 24 years of age and younger who were randomized to receive antidepressant medication, compared with those who were randomized to placebo. Rates of suicidal behavior were similar for subjects 25 to 64 years of age whether they received antidepressants or placebo, and subjects 65 years of age or older randomized to antidepressants were found to have lower rates of suicidal behavior. Age stratified FDA meta-analyses did not have adequate power to investigate rates of suicidal behaviors by antidepressant drug class.
To assess the risk of deliberate self-harm associated with the two most commonly prescribed classes of antidepressant agents.
Propensity score matched cohort study of incident users of antidepressant agents.
Population-based health care utilization data of US residents.
US residents 10 to 64 years of age with a recorded diagnosis of depression who initiated use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) between January 1, 1998 and December 31, 2010.
Main Outcome Measures
ICD-9 external cause of injury codes E950.x-E958.x (deliberate self-harm).
102,647 patients between 10 and 24 years of age and 338,021 patients between 25 and 64 years of age initiated therapy with antidepressants. Among 10–24 year olds, prior to propensity score matching, 75,675 patients initiated therapy with SSRIs and 5,344 initiated SNRIs. After matching there were 5,344 SNRI users and 10,688 SSRI users. Among the older cohort, 36,037 SNRI users were match to 72,028 SSRI users (from an unmatched cohort of 225,952 SSRI initiators). Regardless of age cohort, patients initiating SSRIs and patients initiating SNRIs had similar rates of deliberate self-harm. Restriction to patients with no antidepressant use in the past 3 years did not alter our findings.
Our findings of similar rates of deliberate self-harm for depressed patients who initiate treatment with either an SSRI or an SNRI suggests that physicians who have decided that their patients would benefit from initiating antidepressant therapy need not weigh differential suicide risk when deciding which class of antidepressant to prescribe.
PMCID: PMC3947090  PMID: 24146116
16.  Use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and risk of re-operation due to post-surgical bleeding in breast cancer patients: a Danish population-based cohort study 
BMC Surgery  2010;10:3.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) decrease platelet-function, which suggests that SSRI use may increase the risk of post-surgical bleeding. Few studies have investigated this potential association.
We conducted a population-based study of the risk of re-operation due to post-surgical bleeding within two weeks of primary surgery among Danish women with primary breast cancer. Patients were categorised according to their use of SSRI: never users, current users (SSRI prescription within 30 days of initial breast cancer surgery), and former users (SSRI prescription more than 30 days before initial breast cancer surgery). We calculated the risk of re-operation due to post-surgical bleeding within 14 days of initial surgery, and the relative risk (RR) of re-operation comparing SSRI users with never users of SSRI adjusting for potential confounders.
389 of 14,464 women (2.7%) were re-operated. 1592 (11%) had a history of SSRI use. Risk of re-operation was 2.6% among never users, 7.0% among current SSRI users, and 2.7% among former users. Current users thus had an increased risk of re-operation due to post-operative bleeding (adjusted relative risk = 2.3; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.4, 3.9) compared with never users. There was no increased risk of re-operation associated with former use of SSRI (RR = 0.93, 95% CI = 0.66, 1.3).
Current use of SSRI is associated with an increased risk of re-operation due to bleeding after surgery for breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC2823600  PMID: 20096133
17.  Clinical and economic outcomes of adjunctive therapy with pregabalin or usual care in generalized anxiety disorder patients with partial response to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors 
This study is done to compare the effect of adjunctive therapy with pregabalin versus usual care (UC) on health-care costs and clinical and patients consequences in generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) subjects with partial response (PR) to a previous selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) course in medical practice in Spain.
Post hoc analysis of patients with PR to SSRI monotherapy enrolled in a prospective 6-month naturalistic study was done. PR was defined as a Clinical Global Impression (CGI) scale score ≥3 and insufficient response with persistence of anxiety symptoms ≥16 in the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAM-A). Two groups were analyzed: 1) adjunctive therapy (AT) with pregabalin (150–600 mg/day) to existing therapy and 2) UC (switching to a different SSRI or adding another anxiolytic different than pregabalin). Costs included GAD-related health-care resources utilization. Consequences were a combination of psychiatrist-based measurements [HAM-A, CGI, and Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS)] and patient-reported outcomes [Medical Outcomes Study Sleep (MOS-sleep) scale, disability (World Health Organization Disability Assessment Schedule II (WHO-DAS II) and quality-of-life (Euro Qol-5D (EQ-5D)]. Changes in both health-care costs and scale scores were compared separately at end-of-trial visit by a general linear model with covariates.
Four hundred eighty-six newly prescribed pregabalin and 239 UC GAD patients [mean (SD) HAM-A 26.7 (6.9) and CGI 4.1 (0.5)] were analyzed. Adding pregabalin was associated with significantly higher mean (95% CI) score reductions vs. UC in HAM-A [−14.9 (−15.6; −14.2) vs. −11.2 (−12.2; −10.2), p < 0.001] and MADRS [−11.6 (−12.2; −10.9) vs. −7.8 (−8.7; −6.8), p < 0.001]. Changes in all patient-reported outcomes favored significantly patients receiving pregabalin, including quality-of-life gain; 26.4 (24.7; 28.1) vs. 19.4 (17.1; 21.6) in the EQ-VAS, p < 0.001. Health-care costs were significantly reduced in both cohorts yielding similar 6-month costs; €1,565 (1,426; 1,703) pregabalin and €1,406 (1,200; 1,611) UC, p = 0.777. The effect of sex on costs and consequences were negligible.
In medical practice, GAD patients with PR to SSRI experienced greater consequence improvements with adjunctive therapy with pregabalin versus UC, without increasing health-care cost. The effect of pregabalin was independent of patient gender.
PMCID: PMC4308936  PMID: 25632294
Cost analysis; Generalized anxiety disorder; Pregabalin; SSRI; Partial response; Usual care; Routine medical practice
18.  Relation between cardiac dimensions and peak oxygen uptake 
Long term endurance training is known to increase peak oxygen uptake () and induce morphological changes of the heart such as increased left ventricular mass (LVM). However, the relationship between and the total heart volume (THV), considering both the left and right ventricular dimensions in both males and females, is not completely described. Therefore, the aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that THV is an independent predictor of and to determine if the left and right ventricles enlarge in the same order of magnitude in males and females with a presumed wide range of THV.
Methods and Results
The study population consisted of 131 subjects of whom 71 were athletes (30 female) and 60 healthy controls (20 female). All subjects underwent cardiovascular MR and maximal incremental exercise test. Total heart volume, LVM and left- and right ventricular end-diastolic volumes (LVEDV, RVEDV) were calculated from short-axis images. was significantly correlated to THV, LVM, LVEDV and RVEDV in both males and females. Multivariable analysis showed that THV was a strong, independent predictor of (R2 = 0.74, p < 0.001). As LVEDV increased, RVEDV increased in the same order of magnitude in both males and females (R2 = 0.87, p < 0.001).
Total heart volume is a strong, independent predictor of maximal work capacity for both males and females. Long term endurance training is associated with a physiologically enlarged heart with a balance between the left and right ventricular dimensions in both genders.
PMCID: PMC2825210  PMID: 20122149
19.  A population-based case-control study of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) and breast cancer: The impact of duration of use, cumulative dose and latency 
BMC Medicine  2010;8:90.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), a popular class of antidepressants, may increase breast cancer risk by stimulating the secretion of prolactin, a potential tumour promoter. We evaluated the effects of duration of SSRI use, cumulative dose, and latency on the risk of breast cancer by conducting a population-based case-control study utilizing Saskatchewan health databases.
Cases included 1,701 women with primary invasive breast cancer diagnosed from 2003 to 2006, and controls consisted of 17,017 women, randomly selected from the population registry. Use of SSRIs was compiled using the Saskatchewan prescription database. Unconditional logistic regression was conducted to evaluate the impact of duration of combined SSRI use (total number of prescriptions dispensed), cumulative dose (total dosage received) and timing of use (two or more years, two to seven years and more than seven years prior to index date) on the risk of breast cancer.
Overall, SSRI use was not associated with an increased risk of breast cancer regardless of our definition of cumulative use (total number of prescriptions dispensed and total dosage). In addition, our results indicate that prolonged SSRI use does not have a latent effect on breast cancer risk. Also, our findings are not suggestive of an increased risk of breast cancer with the use of individual SSRIs.
Our study improved upon most previous studies by having a longer follow-up period, a larger sample size of long-term SSRI users and consideration of risk during specific exposure time windows that take latency into account. Given the potential health benefits of using SSRIs, our results suggest that the issue of breast cancer risk may no longer be a concern for women requiring long-term SSRIs.
PMCID: PMC3022871  PMID: 21176215
20.  Hippocampal Granule Neuron Number and Dentate Gyrus Volume in Antidepressant-Treated and Untreated Major Depression 
Neuropsychopharmacology  2013;38(6):1068-1077.
Smaller hippocampal volume is reported in major depressive disorder (MDD). We hypothesize that it may be related to fewer granule neurons (GN) in the dentate gyrus (DG), a defect possibly reversible with antidepressants. We studied age-, sex-, and postmortem interval-matched groups: no major psychopathology (controls); unmedicated-MDD; and MDD treated with serotonin reuptake inhibitors (MDD*SSRI) or tricyclics (MDD*TCA). Frozen right hippocampi were fixed, sectioned (50 μm), immunostained with neuronal nuclear marker (NeuN), and counterstained with hematoxylin. GN and glial number, and DG and granule cell layer (GCL) volumes were stereologically estimated. Fewer GNs in the anterior DG were present in unmedicated-MDDs compared with controls (p=0.013). Younger age of MDD onset correlated with fewer GNs (p=0.021). Unmedicated-MDDs had fewer mid-DG GNs than MDD*SSRIs (p=0.028) and controls (p=0.032). Anterior GCL glial number did not differ between groups. Anterior/mid GCL volume was smaller in unmedicated-MDDs vs controls (p=0.008) and larger in MDD*SSRIs vs unmedicated-MDDs (p<0.001), MDD*TCAs (p<0.001), and controls (p<0.001). Anterior GCL volume and GN number (r=0.594, p=0.001), and mid DG volume and GN number (r=0.398, p=0.044) were correlated. Anterior DG capillary density correlated with GN number (p=0.027), and with GCL (p=0.024) and DG (r=0.400, p=0.047) volumes. Posterior DG volume and GN number did not differ between groups. Fewer GNs in unmedicated-MDD without fewer neuronal progenitor cells, as previously reported, suggests a cell maturation or survival defect, perhaps related to MDD duration. This may contribute to a smaller hippocampus and is potentially reversed by SSRIs. Postmortem studies are correlative and animal studies are needed to test implied causal relationships.
PMCID: PMC3629406  PMID: 23303074
Depression; Unipolar/Bipolar; Glia; Molecular & Cellular Neurobiology; NeuN; Neuroanatomy; Postmortem; Psychopharmacology; Smoking; SSRI; Stereology; NeuN; postmortem; stereology; plasticity; psychopharmacology; serotonin
21.  Initial Severity and Antidepressant Benefits: A Meta-Analysis of Data Submitted to the Food and Drug Administration 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(2):e45.
Meta-analyses of antidepressant medications have reported only modest benefits over placebo treatment, and when unpublished trial data are included, the benefit falls below accepted criteria for clinical significance. Yet, the efficacy of the antidepressants may also depend on the severity of initial depression scores. The purpose of this analysis is to establish the relation of baseline severity and antidepressant efficacy using a relevant dataset of published and unpublished clinical trials.
Methods and Findings
We obtained data on all clinical trials submitted to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the licensing of the four new-generation antidepressants for which full datasets were available. We then used meta-analytic techniques to assess linear and quadratic effects of initial severity on improvement scores for drug and placebo groups and on drug–placebo difference scores. Drug–placebo differences increased as a function of initial severity, rising from virtually no difference at moderate levels of initial depression to a relatively small difference for patients with very severe depression, reaching conventional criteria for clinical significance only for patients at the upper end of the very severely depressed category. Meta-regression analyses indicated that the relation of baseline severity and improvement was curvilinear in drug groups and showed a strong, negative linear component in placebo groups.
Drug–placebo differences in antidepressant efficacy increase as a function of baseline severity, but are relatively small even for severely depressed patients. The relationship between initial severity and antidepressant efficacy is attributable to decreased responsiveness to placebo among very severely depressed patients, rather than to increased responsiveness to medication.
Kirsch and colleagues show that, in antidepressant trials, there is a greater difference in efficacy between drug and placebo amongst more severely depressed patients. However, this difference seems to result from a poorer response to placebo amongst more depressed patients.
Editors' Summary
Everyone feels miserable occasionally. But for some people—those with depression—these sad feelings last for months or years and interfere with daily life. Depression is a serious medical illness caused by imbalances in the brain chemicals that regulate mood. It affects one in six people at some time during their life, making them feel hopeless, worthless, unmotivated, even suicidal. Doctors measure the severity of depression using the “Hamilton Rating Scale of Depression” (HRSD), a 17–21 item questionnaire. The answers to each question are given a score and a total score for the questionnaire of more than 18 indicates severe depression. Mild depression is often treated with psychotherapy or talk therapy (for example, cognitive–behavioral therapy helps people to change negative ways of thinking and behaving). For more severe depression, current treatment is usually a combination of psychotherapy and an antidepressant drug, which is hypothesized to normalize the brain chemicals that affect mood. Antidepressants include “tricyclics,” “monoamine oxidases,” and “selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors” (SSRIs). SSRIs are the newest antidepressants and include fluoxetine, venlafaxine, nefazodone, and paroxetine.
Why Was This Study Done?
Although the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the UK National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), and other licensing authorities have approved SSRIs for the treatment of depression, some doubts remain about their clinical efficacy. Before an antidepressant is approved for use in patients, it must undergo clinical trials that compare its ability to improve the HRSD scores of patients with that of a placebo, a dummy tablet that contains no drug. Each individual trial provides some information about the new drug's effectiveness but additional information can be gained by combining the results of all the trials in a “meta-analysis,” a statistical method for combining the results of many studies. A previously published meta-analysis of the published and unpublished trials on SSRIs submitted to the FDA during licensing has indicated that these drugs have only a marginal clinical benefit. On average, the SSRIs improved the HRSD score of patients by 1.8 points more than the placebo, whereas NICE has defined a significant clinical benefit for antidepressants as a drug–placebo difference in the improvement of the HRSD score of 3 points. However, average improvement scores may obscure beneficial effects between different groups of patient, so in the meta-analysis in this paper, the researchers investigated whether the baseline severity of depression affects antidepressant efficacy.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers obtained data on all the clinical trials submitted to the FDA for the licensing of fluoxetine, venlafaxine, nefazodone, and paroxetine. They then used meta-analytic techniques to investigate whether the initial severity of depression affected the HRSD improvement scores for the drug and placebo groups in these trials. They confirmed first that the overall effect of these new generation of antidepressants was below the recommended criteria for clinical significance. Then they showed that there was virtually no difference in the improvement scores for drug and placebo in patients with moderate depression and only a small and clinically insignificant difference among patients with very severe depression. The difference in improvement between the antidepressant and placebo reached clinical significance, however, in patients with initial HRSD scores of more than 28—that is, in the most severely depressed patients. Additional analyses indicated that the apparent clinical effectiveness of the antidepressants among these most severely depressed patients reflected a decreased responsiveness to placebo rather than an increased responsiveness to antidepressants.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that, compared with placebo, the new-generation antidepressants do not produce clinically significant improvements in depression in patients who initially have moderate or even very severe depression, but show significant effects only in the most severely depressed patients. The findings also show that the effect for these patients seems to be due to decreased responsiveness to placebo, rather than increased responsiveness to medication. Given these results, the researchers conclude that there is little reason to prescribe new-generation antidepressant medications to any but the most severely depressed patients unless alternative treatments have been ineffective. In addition, the finding that extremely depressed patients are less responsive to placebo than less severely depressed patients but have similar responses to antidepressants is a potentially important insight into how patients with depression respond to antidepressants and placebos that should be investigated further.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The MedlinePlus encyclopedia contains a page on depression (in English and Spanish)
Detailed information for patients and caregivers is available on all aspects of depression (including symptoms and treatment) from the US National Institute of Medical Health and from the UK National Health Service Direct Health Encyclopedia
MedlinePlus provides a list of links to further information on depression
Clinical Guidance for professionals, patients, caregivers and the public is provided by the UK National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence
PMCID: PMC2253608  PMID: 18303940
22.  Impact of Neonatal Sertraline Exposure on the Post-Myocardial Infarction Outcomes of Adult Male Mice 
Neonatal exposure to a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) leads to decreased left ventricular volumes and sympathetic activation in adult mice. We hypothesized this neonatal SSRI exposure-induced small left heart syndrome would increase post-myocardial infarction morbidity and mortality. C57BL/6 mice received saline or sertraline (5 mg/kg IP) on post-natal days 1–14. At 5 months, male mice underwent coronary artery ligation and were monitored by radiotelemetry until death or 4 weeks post-ligation. Following ligation, SSRI exposed mice had increased heart rates (SSRI 516 ± 13 bpm, control 470 ± 15 bpm, p<0.05). SSRI-exposed mice had significant reductions in left ventricular systolic volumes both before and after coronary ligation (SSRI: baseline 20 ± 3 µL, post-MI 37 ± 10 µL; control: baseline 30 ± 3 µL, post-MI 65 ± 23 µL). Post-MI echocardiography showed significantly decreased ejection fraction in control mice (baseline 60 ± 4%, post-MI 41 ± 2%, p <0.01) but not SSRI-exposed mice (baseline 65 ± 3%, post-MI 53 ± 7%). Neonatal SSRI exposure did not significantly alter post-MI survival. We conclude that the preexisting SSRI-induced small left heart syndrome may provide protection from post-MI ventricular dilation.
PMCID: PMC3902860  PMID: 23921310
exposure; selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors; myocardial infarction; echocardiography; telemetry
23.  A Pilot Study of the Pharmacodynamic Impact of SSRI Drug Selection and Beta-1 Receptor Genotype (ADRB1) on Cardiac Vital Signs in Depressed Patients: A Novel Pharmacogenetic Approach 
Psychopharmacology bulletin  2010;43(1):11-22.
The adrenergic beta-1 receptor gene (ADRB1) Ser49Gly and Arg389Gly variants differentially affect blood pressure response to beta-blocker therapy. Binding site prediction results for fluoxetine and paroxetine in a bioinformatics model, estimated that each of these particular selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have high receptor affinity as an “Adrenergic (beta) Blocker,” which was confirmed in vitro. This pilot study was conducted to understand the relationship between these “beta-blocking” SSRIs (fluoxetine and paroxetine) and cardiac vital signs (systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP) and heart rate (HR)), when subjects are stratified by ADRB1 genotype. Previously ascertained DNA and clinical data was examined from 122 subjects recruited for a cross-sectional study of health and well being during SSRI pharmacotherapy. A multivariate linear regression analysis was used to determine which variables affected cardiac vital signs. There was a significant interaction between 389Gly variant status and “beta-blocking” SSRIs [p = 0.0353] in relation to SBP. Specifically in homozygous 389Arg subjects, those receiving “beta-blocking” SSRIs had significantly lower SBP (mean 104 mmHg) compared to the group taking other SSRIs (mean 122 mmHg) [p = 0.0437]. In these same homozygous 389Arg subjects, those receiving “beta-blocking” SSRIs also had lower HR (mean 60 bpm) compared to the other SSRIs (mean 79 bpm) [p = 0.00877]. Future prospective studies of this phenomenon are necessary to identify all genetic markers that can predict SSRI-associated cardiovascular effects that may be related to the SSRI Discontinuation Syndrome and potentially influence pharmacotherapy decisions.
PMCID: PMC3807824  PMID: 20581797
24.  Variants of the Serotonin Transporter Gene, Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, and Bone Mineral Density in Risperidone-Treated Boys: A Reanalysis of Data From a Cross-Sectional Study With Emphasis on Pharmacogenetics 
The Journal of clinical psychiatry  2011;72(12):1685-1690.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may reduce bone mineral density (BMD). Here, we investigate whether variants of the serotonin transporter-linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR) of the serotonin transporter gene moderate this association in boys.
Between November 2005 and August 2009, medically healthy boys, aged 7 to 17 years, were enrolled in a cross-sectional study exploring the effect of risperidone-induced hyperprolactinemia on BMD. Volumetric BMD of the ultradistal radius was measured using peripheral quantitative computed tomography, and areal BMD of the lumbar spine was estimated using dual energy x-ray absorptiometry. Multiple linear regression analysis tested whether the 5-HTTLPR genotypes interacted with SSRI treatment status to affect BMD, adjusting for relevant confounders. Participant enrollment was conducted at the University of Iowa, Iowa City.
Of 108 boys (mean ± SD age = 11.7 ± 2.8 years), with DSM-IV clinical diagnoses based on chart review, 52% (n = 56) had been taking an SSRI for a median duration of 2.8 years. After adjusting for pubertal development, anthropometric measures, physical activity, calcium intake, and prolactin concentration, there was a significant 5-HTTLPR genotype × SSRI treatment interaction effect on total lumbar spine BMD z score (P < .05) in non-Hispanic whites. The interaction effect on BMD at the ultradistal radius failed to reach statistical significance. Among LS genotype carriers, those treated with SSRIs had lower lumbar BMD z score and trabecular BMD at the radius compared to those not treated (P < .02 and P < .008, respectively).
These findings add to the growing evidence implicating the serotonin system in bone metabolism. They suggest the potential use of 5-HTTLPR genotypes to guide the safer long-term prescribing of SSRIs in youths. However, prospective confirmation in a controlled matched population is warranted.
PMCID: PMC3653135  PMID: 22244026
25.  Are SSRIs safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women? 
Canadian Family Physician  2000;46:626-633.
OBJECTIVE: To summarize the literature on use of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class of antidepressants for pregnant and breastfeeding women. DATA SOURCES AND STUDY SELECTION: MEDLINE was searched over the past 9 years. An examination of the literature over the last 8 years was included in this review. Primary studies consist of prospective investigations and case studies. Evidence for the safety of SSRIs is limited, but some good studies describe the effects of untreated depression. SYNTHESIS: All studies report that infants are exposed to SSRIs; the drugs can be measured in their plasma and urine. Some evidence shows an increase in minor perinatal complications among infants exposed to SSRIs late in gestation or while nursing. No studies, however, have found an increase in major fetal malformations or pregnancy-related complications. The only investigation of long-term neurodevelopmental outcomes found no negative outcomes among infants exposed to SSRIs during pregnancy. Data are scarce, and readers are cautioned to take into consideration the limitations of the studies reviewed before making definite treatment decisions. CONCLUSIONS: Major fetal malformations and exposure to SSRIs during pregnancy and lactation do not appear to be associated. Some minor perinatal complications have been reported. Data on the long-term developmental outcomes of children exposed to SSRIs in utero and during breastfeeding are limited.
PMCID: PMC2144975  PMID: 10752001

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