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Circulation. 2001 Oct 16;104(16):1894-8.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and myocardial infarction.

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Cardiovascular Division, Department of Medicine, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.



Depression is an independent risk factor for myocardial infarction (MI). Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may reduce this risk through attenuation of serotonin-mediated platelet activation in addition to treatment of depression itself.


case-control study of first MI in smokers 30 to 65 years of age was conducted among all 68 hospitals in an 8-county area during a 28-month period. Cases were patients hospitalized with a first MI. Approximately 4 community control subjects per case were randomly selected from the same geographic area using random digit dialing. Detailed information regarding use of antidepressant medication as well as other clinical and demographic data were obtained by telephone interview. A total of 653 cases of first MI and 2990 control subjects participated. After adjustment, using multivariable logistic regression, for age, sex, race, education, exercise, quantity smoked per day, body mass index, aspirin use, family history of MI, number of physician encounters, and history of coronary disease, diabetes, hypertension, or hypercholesterolemia, the odds ratio for MI among current SSRI users compared with nonusers was 0.35 (95% CI 0.18, 0.68; P<0.01). Non-SSRI antidepressant users had a nonsignificant reduction in MI risk with wide confidence intervals (adjusted odds ratio 0.48, CI 0.17, 1.32; P=0.15). However, analysis of this group was limited by the small number of exposed subjects.


The use of SSRIs may confer a protective effect against MI. This could be attributable to the inhibitory effect SSRIs have on serotonin-mediated platelet activation or possibly amelioration of other factors associated with increased risk for MI in depression.

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