Serotonin receptor inhibitor is associated with falls independent of frailty in older adults

Sumika M. Lin, Marcus K. Borges, Alaise S.S. de Siqueira, Marina M. Biella, Wilson Jacob-Filho, Matteo Cesari, Richard C.Oude Voshaar, Ivan Aprahamian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To evaluate whether fall risk in older adults is associated with the use of selective serotonin receptor inhibitor (SSRI) monotherapy among geriatric outpatients, and whether this association is moderated by the presence of depressive disorder and/or frailty. Methods: Prospective cohort study with a 12-month follow-up and including 811 community-dwelling adults aged 60 or older from a university-based Geriatric Outpatient Unit. Major depressive disorder (MDD) was diagnosed according to DSM-5 criteria; subsyndromal depression as not meeting MDD criteria, but a Geriatric Depression Scale 15-item score ≥ 6 points. Frailty was evaluated with the FRAIL questionnaire. The association between SSRI use, depression, or both as well as the association between SSRI use, frailty, or both with falls were estimated through a generalized estimating equation (GEE) adjusted for relevant confounders. Results: At baseline, 297 patients (36.6%) used a SSRI (82 without remitted depression) and 306 (37.7%) were classified as physically frail. Frailty was more prevalent among SSRI users (44.8% versus 33.7%, p =.004). After 12 months, 179 participants had at least one fall (22.1%). SSRI use, depression as well as frailty were all independently associated with falls during follow-up. Nonetheless, patients with concurrent of SSRI usage and non-remitted depression had no higher risk compared to either remitted SSRI users or depressed patients without SSRIs. In contrast, concurrence of SSRI use and frailty increases the risk of falling substantially above those by SSRI usage or frailty alone. Conclusion: SSRI usage was independently associated with falls. Especially in frail-depressed patients, treatment strategies for depression other than SSRIs should be considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-224
JournalAging and Mental Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • antidepressants
  • Depression
  • falls
  • frailty
  • older adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Serotonin receptor inhibitor is associated with falls independent of frailty in older adults'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this