The effects of selective serotononin reuptake inhibitors on the thyroid axis in perimenopausal depression
Sokratis Karaoulanis1, Andreas Rizoulis2, Georgios Lalios3, Eleni Damani4, Katerina Rizouli4, Nikos Liakos4, Alexandros Papadimitriou5 & Nikiforos Angelopoulos1
Introduction: There is a great interest in the association of thyroid hormones and mood. Although it appears to be important interactions between the central regulation of mood and the thyroid axis, the effects of antidepressants and especially of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) remain ambiguous. We investigated the thyroid function in perimenopausal women suffering from depression.
Material and methods: We examined 102 perimenopausal women. Twenty-three of them had depression without taking any medication, 20 of them had depression and were on treatment with SSRIs and 59 were normal. All women were between the ages 40 and 55 and presented with a history of menstrual cycle irregularity of at least 6 months duration but not longer than 1 year of amenorrhea. We measured plasma levels of T3, FT4 and TSH.
Kruskal-Wallis test was applied to evaluate the relationship between plasma hormone levels and the use of SSRIs.
Results: Depressed women using SSRIs had a higher level of T3 than the other two groups (P<0.03). Serum TSH and FT4 were similar in the three groups.
Conclusions: Our results demonstrate that depressed perimenopausal women who take SSRIs have a higher serum concentration of T3. It is known that T3 is used as an augmentation therapy in treatment resistant depression. Subsequently, we could suppose that the rise of T3 levels is one mechanism of SSRIs to fight depression.