Summaries of product characteristics and the BNF should be consulted for a fuller account of the risks of individual SSRIs.
Very common (> 10%) and common (1–10%) adverse effects:
- Gastrointestinal adverse effects—dry mouth, nausea, vomiting , diarrhoea, constipation
- Central nervous system effects—headache, sleep disturbances, tremor, sedation, lethargy
- Psychiatric adverse effects—agitation and anxiety
- Sexual dysfunction
- Other common adverse effects—sweating, paraesthesia, joint and muscle pain
- Withdrawal (discontinuation) effects
Rare (0.1–0.01%) and very rare (< 0.01%), but potentially serious adverse effects:
Antimuscarinic (anticholinergic) effects—visual disturbances, tachycardia, urinary retention
Other psychiatric medications—antidepressants (especially serotonergic eg MAOIs), lithium
5HT1 agonists for treating migraine (‘triptans’)
Antiplatelet medications (aspirin, clopidogrel)
Linezolid (antibacterial with monoamine oxidase inhibiting activity)
Monoamine oxidase B inhibitors (rasagiline, selegiline)
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
Oral anticoagulants, including warfarin
Tamoxifen—interaction with potent inhibitors of isoenzyme CYP2D6, fluoxetine and paroxetine
- The decision to prescribe an antidepressant during pregnancy involves very careful assessment of the risk of untreated depression to both the mother and the fetus and the risk to the fetus of adverse effects including teratogenic effects from exposure to an antidepressant.
- Features of overdose include the usual adverse effects of SSRIs, but very large overdoses can also lead to cardiac features (tachycardia, rhythm disorders, hypotension or hypertension), convulsions, and coma. SSRI overdosage is managed by treating specific symptoms as they arise.