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PLoS One. 2011;6(6):e21447. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0021447. Epub 2011 Jun 24.

Antidepressant-warfarin interaction and associated gastrointestinal bleeding risk in a case-control study.

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Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America.



Bleeding is the most common and worrisome adverse effect of warfarin therapy. One of the factors that might increase bleeding risk is initiation of interacting drugs that potentiate warfarin. We sought to evaluate whether initiation of an antidepressant increases the risk of hospitalization for gastrointestinal bleeding in warfarin users.


Medicaid claims data (1999-2005) were used to perform an observational case-control study nested within person-time exposed to warfarin in those ≥18 years. In total, 430,455 warfarin users contributed 407,370 person-years of warfarin use. The incidence rate of hospitalization for GI bleeding among warfarin users was 4.48 per 100 person-years (95% CI, 4.42-4.55). Each gastrointestinal bleeding cases was matched to 50 controls based on index date and state. Warfarin users had an increased odds ratio of gastrointestinal bleeding upon initiation of citalopram (OR = 1.73 [95% CI, 1.25-2.38]), fluoxetine (OR = 1.63 [95% CI, 1.11-2.38]), paroxetine (OR = 1.64 [95% CI, 1.27-2.12]), amitriptyline (OR = 1.47 [95% CI, 1.02-2.11]). Also mirtazapine, which is not believed to interact with warfarin, increased the risk of GI bleeding (OR = 1.75 [95% CI, 1.30-2.35]).


Warfarin users who initiated citalopram, fluoxetine, paroxetine, amitriptyline, or mirtazapine had an increased risk of hospitalization for gastrointestinal bleeding. However, the elevated risk with mirtazapine suggests that a drug-drug interaction may not have been responsible for all of the observed increased risk.

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