SSRI Drugs and Bone Fracture

Effect of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors on the Risk of Fracture

J. Brent Richards, MD; Alexandra Papaioannou, MD, MSc; Jonathan D. Adachi, MD; Lawrence Joseph, PhD; Heather E. Whitson, MD; Jerilynn C. Prior, MD; David Goltzman, MD; for the Canadian Multicentre Osteoporosis Study (CaMos) Research Group

Arch Intern Med. 2007;167(2):188-194.

Background Depression and osteoporotic fractures are common ailments among elderly persons. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are frequently used in the treatment of depression in this population, and the association between daily SSRI use and fragility fractures is unclear. Our objective was to examine the effect of daily SSRI use on the risk of incident clinical fragility fracture.

Methods A population-based, randomly selected, prospective cohort study of 5008 community-dwelling adults 50 years and older, followed up over 5 years for incident fractures. Clinical fragility fractures were classified as minimal trauma fractures that were clinically reported and radiographically confirmed. The risk of fragility fracture associated with daily SSRI use was determined while controlling for relevant covariates.

Results Daily SSRI use was reported by 137 subjects. After adjustment for many potential covariates, daily SSRI use was associated with substantially increased risk of incident clinical fragility fracture (hazard rate, 2.1; 95% confidence interval, 1.3-3.4). Daily SSRI use was also associated with increased odds of falling (odds ratio, 2.2; 95% confidence interval, 1.4-3.5), lower bone mineral density at the hip, and a trend toward lower bone mineral density at the spine. These effects were dose dependent and were similar for those who reported taking SSRIs at baseline and at 5 years’ follow-up.

Conclusions Daily SSRI use in adults 50 years and older remained associated with a 2-fold increased risk of clinical fragility fracture after adjustment for potential covariates. Depression and fragility fractures are common in this age group, and the elevated risk attributed to daily SSRI use may have important public health consequences.

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