Am Fam Physician. 2009 Feb 1;79(3):online.
to the editor: The article on pharmacologic management of adult depression is a useful review of commonly prescribed medications. However, a discussion of the safety of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) must include hyponatremia, a well-recognized and potentially life-threatening side effect of this class of medications. A recent literature review showed an incidence of hyponatremia ranging from 0.5 to –32 percent among those receiving SSRIs.1 Risk factors for the development of hyponatremia include older age, female sex, concomitant use of diuretics, low body weight, and lower baseline serum sodium concentration.1,2 Most cases resolve with discontinuation of the SSRI. Physicians should be aware of this potential complication, particularly in older patients.
Antidepressants are often used to man-age depression in women who are pregnant and lactating without adverse effects; however, physicians should discuss the risks these medications may pose to the developing fetus or breastfed infant with the patient before initiating treatment. When used in late pregnancy, an association has been shown between SSRIs and neonatal withdrawal syndrome and persistent pulmonary hypertension.3,4 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends avoidance of paroxetine (Paxil) in particular, because of an increased risk of congenital malformations.5
Author disclosure: Nothing to disclose.
REFERENCESshow all references
1. Jacob S, Spinler SA. Hyponatremia associated with selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors in older adults. Ann Pharmacother. 2006;40(9):1618–622....
2. Movig KL, Leufkens HG, Lenderink AW, et al. Association between antidepressant drug use and hyponatraemia: a case-control study. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2002;53(4):363–69.
3. Way CM. Safety of newer antidepressants in pregnancy. Pharmacotherapy. 2007;27(4):546–52.
4. Chambers CD, Hernandez-Diaz S, Van Marter LJ, et al. Selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors and risk of persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn. N Engl J Med. 2006;354(6):579–87.
5. ACOG Committee on Obstetric Practice. ACOG Committee Opinion No. 354: Treatment with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors during pregnancy. Obstet Gynecol. 2006;108(6):1601–603.
Send letters to Kenneth W. Lin, MD, MPH, Associate Deputy Editor for AFP Online, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, or 11400 Tomahawk Creek Pkwy., Leawood, KS 66211-2680.
Please include your complete address, e-mail address, and telephone number. Letters should be fewer than 400 words and limited to six references, one table or figure, and three authors.
Letters submitted for publication in AFP must not be submitted to any other publication. Possible conflicts of interest must be disclosed at time of submission. Submission of a letter will be construed as granting the American Academy of Family Physicians permission to publish the letter in any of its publications in any form. The editors may edit letters to meet style and space requirements.
Copyright © 2009 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
This content is owned by the AAFP. A person viewing it online may make one printout of the material and may use that printout only for his or her personal, non-commercial reference. This material may not otherwise be downloaded, copied, printed, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any medium, whether now known or later invented, except as authorized in writing by the AAFP. Contact email@example.com for copyright questions and/or permission requests.
Want to use this article elsewhere? Get Permissions