Adam M. Kaye: 0000-0002-7224-3322

Document Type


Publication Title

Health Psychology Research









First Page


Last Page


Publication Date



Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is a major cause of disability worldwide and is associated with serious lasting impairment. A leading hypothesis of the pathophysiology of MDD is the monoamine deficiency hypothesis which suggests that depression is caused by depletion of serotonin, norepinephrine, or dopamine in the central nervous system. Serotonin is the most widely studied neurotransmitter in the pathophysiology of depression, with studies showing that reduced central serotonin synthesis leads to depressive symptoms in individuals at risk for depression. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI) inhibit serotonin reuptake and subsequently increase the amount of serotonin available in synapses. Common side effects of SSRIs include increased suicidality of patients under the age of 25, sexual dysfunction, anxiety, dizziness, weight gain, gastrointestinal distress, and headache. Other side effects include prolonging the QT interval, coagulopathy, and the risk of serotonin syndrome, as well as SSRI discontinuation syndrome. Sites of increased bleeding related to SSRI use have been reported to occur in the upper gastrointestinal tract, as well as intracranially. Based on the current literature, three studies have found that SSRIs are not associated with increased bleeding and/or increased perioperative risk, while others have demonstrated that SSRIs are associated with an increased risk in perioperative use. The inhibition of serotonin reuptake can affect platelet aggregation since platelets also express the serotonin transporter. SSRIs can result in decreased storage of serotonin in platelet dense granules. Increased serotonin can also increase gastric acid secretion, which increases the risk for ulceration. SSRIs in combination with NSAIDs also show a significantly increased risk of upper GI bleeding. Some studies show an increased bleeding risk from 30% to 70% when taking a combination of vitamin K antagonists and SSRIs in hospitalized patients. Related to the high prevalence of conditions that are treated with SSRIs, the bleeding risk associated with this class of medication merits further study.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License