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Risk of perioperative blood transfusions and postoperative complications associated with serotonergic antidepressants in older adults undergoing hip fracture surgery

Seitz DP, Bell CM, Gill SS, Reimer CL, Herrmann N, Anderson GM, Newman A, Rochon PA. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2013; 33(6):790-8. Epub 2013 Oct 5.

Serotonergic antidepressants (SAds) are associated with bleeding-related adverse events. An increased risk of bleeding with SAds may have important implications in surgical settings. Our study evaluates the risk of red blood cell (RBC) transfusions and postoperative complications associated with SAds among older adults undergoing hip fracture surgery. The authors conducted a retrospective cohort study of individuals 66 years or older who underwent hip fracture surgery in Ontario, Canada. The risk of RBC transfusion among current users of SAds and nonserotonergic antidepressants (NSAds) was compared with recent former SAd users. Secondary outcomes included measures of postoperative morbidity and mortality. Subgroup analyses were undertaken in groups who were coprescribed other medications known to effect bleeding. Multivariable logistic regression was utilized to determine the odds ratios (ORs) for antidepressants and postoperative outcomes. A total 11,384 individuals were included in the study sample. Current SAd users had an increased risk of RBC transfusion compared with recent former users of SAds (OR, 1.28; 95% confidence interval, 1.14-1.43) as did current NSAd users (OR, 1.17; 95% confidence interval, 1.03-1.33). The risk of RBC transfusion with SAds or NSAds was further increased among individuals receiving antiplatelet agents. However, postoperative morbidity and mortality were not increased among either group of antidepressant users. In conclusion, SAds are associated with an increased risk of RBC transfusions, although this does not appear to result in major postoperative complications. Clinicians should be aware of this increased risk, although routine discontinuation of antidepressants before surgery is likely unwarranted in most cases.

Keywords: Drugs (psychotherapeutic) Hip fractures