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Int Clin Psychopharmacol. 2005 May;20(3):169-71.

Past use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and the risk of cerebrovascular events in the elderly.

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  • 1Department of Medicine and Public Health, Section of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology, University of Verona, Italy.


Treatment with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) has been associated with intracranial bleeding abnormalities. We investigated the relationship between past exposure to SSRIs and occurrence of cerebrovascular accidents in the elderly. From the regional database of hospital admissions of Lombardy, Italy, we extracted all patients aged 65 years or above with cerebrovascular-related outcomes for the year 2002. From the regional database of prescriptions reimbursed by the National Health Service, we extracted all patients aged 65 years or above who received antidepressant prescriptions during 2001. The two databases were linked anonymously using the individual patient code. The analysis showed that the proportion of cerebrovascular events in those exposed to SSRIs was 135/66 335 [0.20%, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.17-0.24], whereas the proportion of cerebrovascular accidents in those exposed to tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) was 28/18 620 (0.15%, 95% CI 0.09-0.21). After background group differences were controlled for, exposure to SSRIs did not increase the risk of accidents (adjusted odds ratio 1.31, 95% CI 0.87-1.97). Although the risk of cerebrovascular accidents is a rare but serious event that should carefully be monitored during antidepressant therapy, this study indicated an absence of difference between TCAs and SSRIs.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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