Depression after myocardial infarction (MI) is associated with higher morbidity and mortality. Although antidepressants are effective in reducing depression, their use in patients with cardiovascular disease remains controversial.
To undertake a secondary analysis to determine the effects of using antidepressants on morbidity and mortality in post-MI patients who participated in the Enhancing Recovery in Coronary Heart Disease study.
Observational secondary analysis.
Eight academic sites.
The Enhancing Recovery in Coronary Heart Disease clinical trial randomized 2481 depressed and/or socially isolated patients from October 1, 1996, to October 31, 1999. Depression was diagnosed using a structured clinical interview. This analysis was conducted on the 1834 patients enrolled with depression (849 women and 985 men).
Use of antidepressant medication.
Main Outcome Measures
Event-free survival was defined as the absence of death or recurrent MI. All-cause mortality was also examined. To relate exposure to antidepressants to subsequent morbidity and mortality, the data were analyzed using a time-dependent covariate model.
During a mean follow-up of 29 months, 457 fatal and nonfatal cardiovascular events occurred. The risk of death or recurrent MI was significantly lower in patients taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (adjusted hazard ratio [HR], 0.57; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.38-0.84), as were the risk of all-cause mortality (adjusted HR, 0.59; 95% CI, 0.37-0.96) and recurrent MI (adjusted HR, 0.53; 95% CI, 0.32-0.90), compared with patients who did not use selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. For patients taking non–selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressants, the comparable HRs (95% CIs) were 0.72 (0.44-1.18), 0.64 (0.34-1.22), and 0.73 (0.38-1.38) for risk of death or recurrent MI, all-cause mortality, or recurrent MI, respectively, compared with nonusers.
Use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors in depressed patients who experience an acute MI might reduce subsequent cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. A controlled trial is needed to examine this important issue.