Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and gastrointestinal bleeding: A case-control study

Alfonso Carvajal, Sara Ortega, Lourdes Del Olmo, Xavier Vidal, Carmelo Aguirre, Borja Ruiz, Anita Conforti, Roberto Leone, Paula López-Vázquez, Adolfo Figueiras, Luisa Ibáñez

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25 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have been associated with upper gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding. Given their worldwide use, even small risks account for a large number of cases. This study has been conducted with carefully collected information to further investigate the relationship between SSRIs and upper GI bleeding. Methods: We conducted a case-control study in hospitals in Spain and in Italy. Cases were patients aged ≥18 years with a primary diagnosis of acute upper GI bleeding diagnosed by endoscopy; three controls were matched by sex, age, date of admission (within 3 months) and hospital among patients who were admitted for elective surgery for non-painful disorders. Exposures to SSRIs, other antidepressants and other drugs were defined as any use of these drugs in the 7 days before the day on which upper gastrointestinal bleeding started (index day). Results: 581 cases of upper GI bleeding and 1358 controls were considered eligible for the study; no differences in age or sex distribution were observed between cases and controls after matching. Overall, 4.0% of the cases and 3.3% of controls used an SSRI antidepressant in the week before the index day. No significant risk of upper GI bleeding was encountered for SSRI antidepressants (adjusted odds ratio, 1.06, 95% CI, 0.57-1.96) or for whichever other grouping of antidepressants. Conclusions: The results of this case-control study showed no significant increase in upper GI bleeding with SSRIs and provide good evidence that the magnitude of any increase in risk is not greater than 2. © 2011 Carvajal et al.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere19819
Pages (from-to)e19819-
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011


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