An increase in IL-6 levels at 6-month follow-up visit is associated with SSRI-emergent suicidality in high-risk children and adolescents treated with fluoxetine

Maya Amitai, Michal Taler, Maya Lebow, Reut Ben-Baruch, Alan Apter, Silvana Fennig, Abraham Weizman, Alon Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Major depressive disorder (MDD) is associated with alterations in circulatory cytokines, in adults as well as in children and adolescents. Administration of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) to MDD pediatric patients modifies cytokine levels. However, most studies only assessed changes over a short time period. In this study, we evaluated long-term effects of the SSRI fluoxetine (FLX) in children and adolescents treated for anxiety and/or MDD, including a high-risk group with pre-treatment suicidality. The study group included ninety-two patients (35 boys and 57 girls) with MDD and/or anxiety disorders, aged 13.90 ± 2.41 years. All patients were treated with FLX and followed for 6 months. The study group included children with pretreatment suicidality (high-risk group;N = 62) and without pretreatment suicidality (N = 30) according to the Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale. Plasma concentrations of TNFα, IL-6, and IL-1β were measured by enzyme linked immunosorbent assays before and after six months of treatment. IL-6 and IL-1β significantly increased as a factor of time after 6 months of treatment. The elevation was statistically significant confined to children with pretreatment suicidality. Within the children with pretreatment suicidality, IL-6 levels increased significantly after 6 months only in the children who developed SSRI-associated suicidality. To summarize, an increase in IL-6 levels after 6 months of treatment may be associated with SSRI-emergent suicidality in children with pretreatment suicidality. Further studies are needed to clarify the role and mechanism(s) of IL-6 in the pathogenesis of this life-threatening adverse event.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-69
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Neuropsychopharmacology
Volume40
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2020

Keywords

  • Anxiety
  • Cytokines
  • Depression
  • Suicidality

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