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Salud mental

versión impresa ISSN 0185-3325


CHAVEZ- LEON, Enrique; ONTIVEROS URIBE, Martha Patricia  y  SERRANO GOMEZ, Carlos. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors antidepressants (SSRIs). Salud Ment [online]. 2008, vol.31, n.4, pp.307-319. ISSN 0185-3325.

Depression is a frequent mental disorder in the general population. Approximately 3.7% of the population will suffer a major depressive episode throughout life. Pharmacological treatment with selective serotonin receptor inhibitors (SSRIs) is useful to treat this condition and other mental disorders. Citalopram, escitalopram, fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, paroxetine and sertraline, which constitute this group, are characterized by having an easy way of administration and a very extensive security profile. Objectives The objectives in this revision were: 1. To establish current indications of selective serotonin receptor inhibitors, using as basis those authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States of America. 2. To describe the mechanisms that explain antidepressant action. Initially, the SSRIs inhibit the reuptake of serotonin at the synaptic cleft; later there is a downregulation of the 5HT1A receptors; and finally antidepressants raise the levels of brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). 3. To present its way of administration and dosage. 4. To describe frequent collateral effects and those specifically associated to this group of antidepressants and the recommended treatment. Results SSRIs antidepressants are the first choice treatment in depression, in the anxiety disorder, the obsessive-compulsive disorder, the post-traumatic stress disorder, bulimia nervosa and the premenstrual dysphoric disorder. At present, SSRIs displace benzodiacepines in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder, just as they displaced tricyclic antidepressants in the past. Depressed patients show less activity than normal of the serotonin neurotransmitter (serotonergic hypothesis of depression) and the reuptake blockade at the site of the serotonergic presinaptic receptors 5HT1A, 5HT2C and 5HT3C increases neurotransmission in this system. Desensitization of autoreceptors 5HT1A and the downregulation of the 5HT2 receptors coupled to the G protein, a late effect of the SSRIs, result in the improvement of the depressive symptoms. The mechanism that explains the relatively late antidepressant effect seems to be different to the acute and fast serotonergic effect responsible of improvement in the premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Moreover, these antidepressants, in the same way than mood stabilizers and electroconvulsive therapy, increase serum levels of the brain-derived neuronal growth factor, as well as other neurotrophic factors. Although the SSRIs dosages are variable, it is possible to start antidepressant treatment with therapeutic doses in the majority of cases; at the same time, if necessary, it is possible to augment them gradually up to the largest dose, with a wide security margin. Their most frequent collateral effects occur in the gastrointestinal system, in the sexual response and on bone density. Nevertheless, there are collateral effects specifically related to the use of these antidepressant medications: 1. The serotonergic syndrome, characterized by changes in the mental status, autonomic hyperactivity and neuromuscular anomalies. 2. The syndrome of inappropriate secretion of antidiuretic hormone, which occurs in 25% of the elder depressed patients treated, and which is characterized by a high serum osmolarity, low urinary osmolarity and hyponatremia. Its manifestations are malaise, myalgias, drowsiness and headache, but it may produce also confusion, convulsions and coma. 3. Gastrointestinal bleeding mainly and cutaneous bleeding: Use of SSRIs raises 2 to 4 times the risk of bleeding. When the patient takes aspirin it is raised up to 7 times, and with the concomitant use of anti-inflammatory drugs, by nearly 16 times. Other risk factors are age, the antecedent of bleeding and the potency of SSRIs to inhibit the serotonin reuptake. 4. The discontinuation syndrome, lesser with fluoxetine, and greater with paroxetine and sertraline. It appears by the second day and it lasts two weeks. Its manifestations are nausea, headache, paresthesias, nasal congestion and general malaise. They are due to the decrease in serotonin levels at the synaptic cleft. 6. Effects on the newborn when the SSRIs are used during pregnancy consist in specific congenital malformations. Sertraline has been associated to omphalocele, ventricular septum heart defects and anencephaly. Fluoxetine is associated to craniosynostosis and paroxetine to heart defects, gastroschisis, neural tube defects, omphalocele and anencephaly also. Its use also increases the range of spontaneous abortions up to 1.45 times, premature delivery and low birth weight, problems in the early newborn period (respiratory problems and hypotony), hypoglycemia, cyanosis, restlessness, convulsions and low Apgar. Its use during the third trimester can cause persistent lung hypertension. Although it is a rare condition, it is associated to a mortality range of 10% to 20%. 8) Little is known about the effects caused by the use of SSRIs during breastfeeding. In the case of sertraline and paroxetine, these antidepressant drugs are not detected in the child's serum; on the other hand, serum levels of citalopram were 1.9 nmol/L, fluoxetine 47 nmol/L, and venlafaxine 91 nmol/L. In the available studies, neither behavioral effects nor effects in the development of the newborn were observed. 9) Suicide risk or suicidality. Although the antidepressant treatment lowers both, ideation and the frequency of suicides in the patients treated, the FDA has established a series of general recommendations for the management of patients who start the treatment with antidepressants. To start with the lowest dose, to make an appointment weekly during six consecutive weeks, to recommend and facilitate contact via telephone, to prohibit the use of alcohol and drugs, to ask on each date about suicidal thoughts or behaviors or about self-mutilation, to document the information in the file and to use supportive psychotherapy or cognitive, behavioral or interpersonal therapies.

Palabras llave : Antidepressants; bleeding; breastfeeding; major depression; selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors; serotonergic syndrome; syndrome of inappropriate secretion of antidiuretic hormone; pregnancy; suicide.

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