SSRI Antidepressants Increase Surgery Risks


There is accumulating evidence that taking SSRI antidepressants increases the risk of bleeding and other complications during surgery, according to a review published in the British Journal of Anaesthesia.

The use of antidepressants have continued to grow in recent years, and they are now among the most commonly prescribed medications in the United States.  This means that many patients are presenting for surgery with SSRIs in their system.

Researchers are now bringing increased attention to the risks that SSRIs could pose to those going into surgery.  SSRIs inhibit the reuptake transport of serotonin in the brain and serotonin, among other things, is used in the process of platelet activation that allows blood to clot.  For this reason, researchers have found that the frequency of bleeding complications appears to rise in proportion to the degree of serotonin reuptake inhibition by antidepressants.

According to the authors of a recent review of SSRIs and surgery risk, “drugs such as clomipramine, fluoxetine, sertraline, and paroxetine produce more potent blockade of the serotonin transporter and further increase bleeding potential.”

The authors document a series of studies which implicate SSRI drugs with increased medical risks, including: gastrointestinal blood loss, development of postpartum hemorrhage, spontaneous epidural haematoma, airway bleeding, and increased bleeding during early pregnancy, hip fracture surgery, and after stroke.

“Clinicians should be aware that SSRI’s may contribute to perioperative bleeding and mortality and in individual patients at high risk of this complication may choose to actively discontinue the SSRI,” they write.



Shepherd, S. J., Fiandeiro, C., & Sanders, R. D. (2015). Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors: depressing perioperative outcomes?. British journal of anaesthesia, aev065. (Overview)

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Justin Karter
MIA Research News Editor: Justin M. Karter is the lead research news editor for Mad in America. He completed his doctorate in Counseling Psychology at the University of Massachusetts Boston. He also holds graduate degrees in both Journalism and Community Psychology from Point Park University. He brings a particular interest in examining and decoding cultural narratives of mental health and reimagining the institutions built on these assumptions.


  1. So now they figured that out? I began to think of pregnancy before I got to the paragraph that mentioned it. When I had dental surgery the surgeon was visibly nervous speaking to me of the risks and also while pulling the teeth, He said he was afraid to use general anesthesia because I was on meds and because I was underweight. He said that local anesthesia was far safer. I told him I didn’t mind being awake for it. I also recall when I had my tubest tied, which is minor day surgery, I was told to stop my meds temporarily before the surgery, except for the anticonvulsants since the anesthesiologist feared that stopping too fast would give me a seizure. Remembering this, I began to wonder about the use of anesthesia when people are having shock. They stop the anticonvulsants so the person will have a seizure. But they put the person under while the person is still on antipsychotics and most likely the rest of the shebang. When I had shock I was more underweight than when I had the dental surgery. Many people are already suffering complicated medical issues when they are put under and then, shocked. I ask myself now, how much of a risk is that? How could they, in good conscious, take a risk with a human life? How could they even think to give psych meds to an elderly person who, at any point, could be medically compromised and require emergency surgery? And yet, this drugging is routine, considered to be lifeSAVING. Would these prescribers be willing to take a risk like that with their own kids, with their spouses, with their beloved family pets? Go talk to a vet, none will not do such a thing to an animal.

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  2. B, Who cares? We’re a “drain on the system,” which were my brother’s words, sadly. Society has no use for us and we are a huge waste of taxpayer’s money. That’s funny, if they didn’t force so much harmful treatment on us, taxpayers would save a bundle.

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    • I was never given, nor took SSDI, the psychologist I explained my iatrogenesis to told me I wasn’t “mentally ill,” and should go back to school to get my masters or doctorate in public health.

      What a sick joke the current system is, however, if you don’t profit it during your entire life (like, for example, earn and save enough to pay off your half of your home prior to having children, so choose to stay home and be an active community volunteer, fine artist, and properly raise your children, while your husband works to pay off his half of your home) you get attacked and defamed by the “mental health” field.

      I will say, my mom had been put on a SSRI due to a ‘tearing up’ issue, which may have been warranted and logical (given the appalling iatrogenesis I dealt with). And her dentist also refused to do dental work, until she got off the drug. Thankfully, largely also due to my research, she has done so.

      It truly is sick the medical industry is doing unscientific drug testing on those who revere God and family as above, the ignoramuses behaving as slaves to the unjust monetary worshipping system, that the doctors have seemingly chosen to worship.

      Truly the medical industry needs to wake up to whom their unjust educators and masters are – “the evil banks and corporations that will grow up around them,” that Thomas Jefferson forewarned the US regarding. Especially since “properly prescribed” psychiatric drugs are now the third, or first depending upon where you look, number one killer of Americans.

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