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Stroke. 2013 Feb;44(2):420-6. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.112.674242. Epub 2013 Jan 10.

Post stroke use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and clinical outcome among patients with ischemic stroke: a nationwide propensity score-matched follow-up study.

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  • 1Acute Stroke Unit, Department of Neurology, Aarhus University Hospital, Nørrebrogade 44, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark. janne.mortensen@ki.au.dk

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are widely prescribed after stroke. We aimed to investigate whether potential antiplatelet or vasospastic effects have important clinical implications.

METHODS:

Using data from Danish medical registries, we did a nationwide follow-up study among ischemic stroke patients between 2003 and 2009. We identified 5833 SSRI users, and propensity score matched these patients with nonusers in a 1:1 ratio, followed by Cox regression analysis to compute hazard ratios (HRs) of acute myocardial infarction, recurrent stroke, major bleeding, and death.

RESULTS:

Median follow-up time (from 30 days after discharge to death/end of follow-up) was 1159 days. In total, 2.9% had myocardial infarction, 8.1% recurrent ischemic stroke, 20.2% major bleeding, 1.4% intracranial bleeding, and 34.4% died during follow-up. SSRI users had a lower risk of the combined outcome of myocardial infarction or recurrent ischemic stroke (adjusted HR, 0.77; confidence interval [CI], 0.62-0.96). However, the SSRI users also experienced a higher risk of overall major bleeding (adjusted HR, 1.33; CI, 1.14-1.55) and a nonsignificantly higher risk of intracranial bleedings (adjusted HR, 1.14; CI, 0.62-2.12). Mortality increased in SSRI users (adjusted HR, 1.13; CI, 1.00-1.28) and death caused by bleeding increased (adjusted HR, 1.89; CI, 0.97-3.66) as compared with death by other causes (adjusted HR, 1.11; CI; 0.98-1.26).

CONCLUSIONS:

SSRI use after ischemic stroke was associated with a lower risk of new cardiovascular events and also with an increased bleeding risk. There was an increased mortality among SSRI users, which may be related to the increased bleeding risk.

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