Antidepressant Exposure and Risk of Fracture Among Medicaid-Covered Youth

Objective: This study examines the association between antidepressant use and risk of fracture in depressed youth and assesses whether fracture incidence varies over the course of antidepressant treatment.

Method: A retrospective cohort analysis of Ohio Medicaid claims data was conducted for youth ages 6–17 years with a new episode of ICD-9–diagnosed depression from 2001–2009. The primary outcome variable was time to fracture. Fracture rates were compared between depressed youth treated with antidepressant medication and untreated depressed youth. Time categories of no use, past use, and current use were compared.

Results: Of 50,673 depressed youths, 5,872 (11.6%) experienced a fracture. Of those who had a fracture, 2,228 (37.9%) were exposed to antidepressants, 80% of which were selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. The adjusted hazard ratio (HR) was 3% higher in those currently prescribed antidepressants (HR = 1.03; 95% CI, 1.00–1.06; P = .03). The risk ratio (RR) for adjusted fracture rates per 10,000 persons was twice as high during the first 30 days of antidepressant use compared to the other time periods (RR = 2.0; 95% CI, 1.2–3.3; P = .007). The number of fractures for those with past antidepressant use did not differ from those with no history of antidepressant use.

Conclusions: Antidepressant use may be associated with a small but significant increase in fracture risk, particularly within the first 30 days of treatment. Findings underscore a need for additional prospective and mechanistic research. Prescribers should consider other risks for fracture in antidepressant-treated youth, particularly disability and the concomitant use of other medications that increase fracture risk.

J Clin Psychiatry 2016;77(7):950–956

https://doi.org/10.4088/JCP.15m09828