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Uher 2009 Adverse reactions to antidepressants.

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A paper about a self-report checklist for adverse reactions, with some data about the frequency of adverse reactions. For example, persistent sexual problems while taking an antidepressant occurred about in about 30% of patients. Since doctor often overlook adverse reactions, a checklist completed by the patient may be a good thing.


Br J Psychiatry. 2009 Sep;195(3):202-10.

Adverse reactions to antidepressants.

Uher R, Farmer A, Henigsberg N, Rietschel M, Mors O, Maier W, Kozel D, Hauser J, Souery D, Placentino A, Strohmaier J, Perroud N, Zobel A, Rajewska-Rager A, Dernovsek MZ, Larsen ER, Kalember P, Giovannini C, Barreto M, McGuffin P, Aitchison KJ.



P080 SGDP, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, London SE5 8AF, UK. r.uher@iop.kcl.ac.uk

Erratum in


Br J Psychiatry. 2010 May;196(5):417.


Abstract at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19721108 Full text PDF here.




Adverse drug reactions are important determinants of non-adherence to antidepressant treatment, but their assessment is complicated by overlap with depressive symptoms and lack of reliable self-report measures.




To evaluate a simple self-report measure and describe adverse reactions to antidepressants in a large sample.




The newly developed self-report Antidepressant Side-Effect Checklist and the psychiatrist-rated UKU Side Effect Rating Scale were repeatedly administered to 811 adult participants with depression in a part-randomised multicentre open-label study comparing escitalopram and nortriptyline.




There was good agreement between self-report and psychiatrists' ratings. Most complaints listed as adverse reactions in people with depression were more common when they were medication-free rather than during their treatment with antidepressants. Dry mouth (74%), constipation (33%) and weight gain (15%) were associated with nortriptyline treatment. Diarrhoea (9%), insomnia (36%) and yawning (16%) were more common during treatment with escitalopram. Problems with urination and drowsiness predicted discontinuation of nortriptyline. Diarrhoea and decreased appetite predicted discontinuation of escitalopram.




Adverse reactions to antidepressants can be reliably assessed by self-report. Attention to specific adverse reactions may improve adherence to antidepressant treatment.

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