ICU patients taking SSRIs or SNRIs more likely to die
Critically ill patients are more likely to die if they were taking a common antidepressant when they were admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU), and their risk of death remained significantly higher a year later, according to a new study.
The retrospective study involved electronic medical records of 10,568 patients and focused on in-hospital mortality and mortality a year after being admitted to the ICU. Researchers found patients who were using a type of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), or serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI) when they were admitted to the ICU were 73 percent more likely to die than patients not using the drugs at ICU admission.
Patients using SSRIs/SNRIs who were admitted for cardiac problems had an even greater risk of death.
Researchers say that SSRI/SNRI use may not have been the cause of the mortality in ICU patients, but say the data shows the need for alternative ways to monitor potential adverse events associated with medications and the role they may play in one’s health.
SSRIs are the most commonly prescribed drugs to treat depression in the United States, and include the brand names Paxil, Zoloft, Lexapro, Celexa, and Prozac. The drugs have been shown to relieve the symptoms of depression, but they also carry side effects that are not always detailed on the drugs’ safety labels.