Antidepressant Use in the Elderly Is Associated with an Increased Risk of Dementia

Chenkun Wang, Sujuan Gao, Hugh C. Hendrie, Joe Kesterson, Noll L. Campbell, Anantha Shekhar, Christopher M. Callahan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Scopus citations


A retrospective cohort study was conducted including 3688 patients age 60 years or older without dementia enrolled in a depression screening study in primary care clinics. Information on antidepressant use and incident dementia during follow-up was retrieved from electronic medical records. The Cox proportional hazard models were used to compare the risk for incident dementia among 5 participant groups: selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRI) only, non-SSRI only (non-SSRI), mixed group of SSRI and non-SSRI, not on antidepressants but depressed, and not on antidepressants and not depressed. SSRI and non-SSRI users had significantly higher dementia risk than the nondepressed nonusers (hazard ratio [HR]=1.83, P=0.0025 for SSRI users and HR=1.50, P=0.004 for non-SSRI users). In addition, SSRIs users had significantly higher dementia risk than non-users with severe depression (HR=2.26, P=0.0005). Future research is needed to confirm our results in other populations and to explore potential mechanism underlying the observed association.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-104
Number of pages6
JournalAlzheimer disease and associated disorders
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2016


  • antidepressants
  • dementia
  • retrospective cohort study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Antidepressant Use in the Elderly Is Associated with an Increased Risk of Dementia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this