Antidepressant Use Associated With Increased Mortality in Patients With COPD

LAUSANNE, Switzerland -- June 29, 2018 -- Use of serotonergic antidepressants is associated with a small but significant increase in rates of respiratory-related morbidity and mortality among older adults with COPD, according to a new study published in the European Respiratory Journal.

Researchers conducted a retrospective, population-based study using health data from a cohort based in Ontario, Canada, to evaluate the relationship between new selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) or serotonin–noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) drug use and respiratory-related morbidity and mortality in older adults with COPD.

A total of 28,360 new users of serotonergic antidepressants with COPD aged 66 and older were matched 1:1 to controls on 40 relevant covariates to minimise potential confounding.

Analyses showed that compared to nonusers, new SSRI/SNRI users had significantly higher rates of: hospitalisation for COPD or pneumonia; COPD- or pneumonia-related mortality; and all-cause mortality.

The researchers also note that respiratory-specific and all-cause mortality rates were higher among long-term care home residents that recently started using SSRI/SNRI drugs compared with nonuser controls.

The authors conclude that new SSRI/SNRI drug use is associated with small, but significantly, increased rates of respiratory-related morbidity and mortality among older adults with COPD, but state that further research is needed to clarify whether the associations are causal, or instead reflect unresolved confounding.

Reference: DOI: 10.1183/13993003.00475-2018

SOURCE: European Respiratory Society
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