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Antidepressant use associated with increased mortality among critically ill patients?
Date:5/22/2012

on SSRI/SNRI's were more likely to die. There was, for example, no increase in mortality among patients admitted with sepsis.

Both classes of antidepressants, which work by increasing the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain, are generally thought to have fewer side effects than previous generations of antidepressants. Recent studies, however, have found that SSRIs may increase a patient's risk of bleeding, dizziness, falls and stroke.

"Major depression is a common disorder affecting more than 16 percent of adults in the United States, and SSRI's are the most commonly prescribed medication class for this disease," added Dr. Berg. "The benefits of SSRI's for the treatment of depression are well documented. Due to the practical limitations of clinical trials, however, the long-term risks are unknown."

The researchers acknowledged that this study shows an association, but that the preadmission SSRI/SNRI use may not have been the cause of the increased mortality. The authors attempted to control for other factors that could lead to increased mortality, but were unable to control for some potentially important ones such as smoking and depression itself.

The authors stressed that these results require validation by similar studies utilizing other ICU databases. They stated, however, that this information highlights the need for alternative ways to monitor for potential adverse effects of medications, and the role that large clinical databases may play in this line of investigation.


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Contact: Nathaniel Dunford
ndunford@thoracic.org
212-315-8620
American Thoracic Society
Source:Eurekalert

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