JAMA Study: Perioperative Use of SSRIs Associated with Higher Rate of Adverse Advents

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SSRI_Adverse-EffectsA recently published study in JAMA Internal Medicine says that patients who used selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) during the perioperative period were at higher risk for adverse events.

SSRIs, prescribed under such brand names as Celexa, Desyrel, Lexapro, Luvox, Paxil, Pexeva, Prozac, Sarafem, Symbyax, and Zoloft, are used to treat a range of disorders, including major depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and anxiety disorders, the drug safety monitor AdverseEvents said. The study examined the incidence of adverse events in hospitals during the perioperative period, which the Mayo Clinic defines as the pre- and postoperative periods, as well as the surgery itself. The most commonly reported side effects were dizziness, nausea, and headache, AdverseEvents reported. The analysis identified SSRIs as the primary suspect in 22,724 hospitalizations and 8,252 patient deaths.

The study, published online, is a retrospective examination of the records of 530,416 surgery patients, 18 years or older, who were at 375 hospitals between January 1, 2006 and December 31, 2008. Researchers analyzed the patients’ pharmacy data to determine whether they used SSRIs before, during, or after surgery. Investigators found that patients with perioperative SSRI use were at a higher risk of in-hospital mortality (odds ratio 1.20), bleeding (odds ratio 1.09), and hospital readmission at 30 days (odds ratio 1.22), AdverseEvents said.

While noting that perioperative SSRI use is linked to higher rates of adverse events, the authors said that further study is needed to determine whether patient factors or SSRIs themselves are responsible for elevated risks, AdverseEvents said.