Which Antidepressants are Associated with Increased Risk of Developing Mania? A Retrospective Electronic Case Register Cohort Study

Rashmi Patel, Peter Reiss, Hitesh Shetty, Matthew Broadbent, Robert James Stewart, Philip McGuire, Matthew John Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstractpeer-review


Introduction: The symptoms of bipolar disorder are sometimes misrecognised for unipolar depression and inappropriately treated with antidepressants. This may be associated with increased risk of developing mania. However, the extent to which this depends on what type of antidepressant is prescribed remains unclear.

Aims: To investigate the association between different classes of antidepressants and subsequent onset of mania/bipolar disorder in a real-world clinical setting.

Methods: Data on prior antidepressant therapy were extracted from 21,012 adults with unipolar depression receiving care from the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM). Multivariable Cox regression analysis (with age and gender as covariates) was used to investigate the association of antidepressant therapy with risk of developing mania/bipolar disorder.

Results: In total, 91,110 person-years of follow-up data were analysed (mean follow-up: 4.3 years). The overall incidence rate of mania/bipolar disorder was 10.9 per 1000 person-years. The peak incidence of mania/bipolar disorder was seen in patients aged between 26 and 35 years (12.3 per 1000 person-years). The most frequently prescribed antidepressants were SSRIs (35.5%), mirtazapine (9.4%), venlafaxine (5.6%) and TCAs (4.7%). Prior antidepressant treatment was associated with an increased incidence of mania/bipolar disorder ranging from 13.1 to 19.1 per 1000 person-years. Multivariable analysis indicated a significant association with SSRIs (hazard ratio 1.34, 95% CI 1.18–1.52) and venlafaxine (1.35, 1.07–1.70).

Conclusions: In people with unipolar depression, antidepressant treatment is associated with an increased risk of subsequent mania/bipolar disorder. These findings highlight the importance of considering risk factors for mania when treating people with depression.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S271
JournalEuropean Psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - 14 Mar 2016


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