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Ann Pharmacother. 2013 Jan;47(1):e6. doi: 10.1345/aph.1R491. Epub 2013 Jan 16.

Antidepressant-selective gynecomastia.

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  • 1Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ), New Brunswick, NJ, USA.



To describe what we believe is the first reported case of synergistic gynecomastia during treatment of depressive and anxiety disorders when sertraline was added to a stable medication regimen including duloxetine, rosuvastatin, and amlodipine.


A 67-year-old male with major depression, dysthymia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety, hypertension, diabetes, and hyperlipidemia presented with new-onset gynecomastia and breast tenderness. Mammography revealed bilateral gynecomastia (fibroglandular tissue posterior to the nipples bilaterally) without suspicious mass, calcification, or other abnormalities. These new symptoms developed after sertraline was added to his stable medication regimen (duloxetine, alprazolam, rosuvastatin, metoprolol, amlodipine, hydrochlorothiazide/triamterene, metformin, and sitagliptin). These symptoms were dose-dependent, with gynecomastia and breast tenderness more severe as sertraline was titrated from 25 mg/day to 50 mg/day and then to 75 mg/day. When sertraline was discontinued, gynecomastia and breast tenderness rapidly resolved.


Mammoplasia and gynecomastia are associated with altered dopamine neurotransmission and/or perturbations in sexual hormones. These adverse effects may be medication induced. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (sertraline), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (duloxetine), rosuvastatin, and amlodipine have been reported to cause these adverse effects. This case was unique, since the patient had been on both sertraline and duloxetine previously as independent psychotropics without the development of gynecomastia. In the context of an additive drug adverse effect, the probability of sertraline as the precipitant drug was determined by both the Naranjo probability scale and the Horn drug interaction probability scale as probable.


Gynecomastia is associated with antidepressants and other medications but is rarely addressed. Gynecomastia may be antidepressant selective or may be the result of additive adverse effects. Clinicians are advised to question patients regarding this potential adverse effect. Further education of clinicians is indicated.

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