Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors yield additional antiplatelet protection in patients with congestive heart failure treated with antecedent aspirin

Eur J Heart Fail. 2003 Aug;5(4):517-21. doi: 10.1016/s1388-9842(03)00005-9.


Clinical depression has been identified as an independent risk factor for increased mortality in patients with coronary artery disease. Enhanced platelet activity has been suggested as the mechanism responsible for this adverse association. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are known to inhibit platelets in patients undergoing coronary stenting. We sought to determine whether concomitant therapy with SSRIs would yield additional anti-platelet benefit in patients with congestive heart failure (CHF) already treated with antecedent aspirin. A total of 88 patients with left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) <40% or CHF symptoms in the setting of preserved systolic function and NYHA Class II-IV were analyzed. Of these, 23 patients (26%) were chronic SSRI users (SSRI+), and 65 patients were free from SSRI therapy (SSRI-). All patients received aspirin (325 mg) for at least 1 month prior to platelet studies. Platelets were assessed by aggregometry, flow cytometry and a rapid analyzer. The SSRI+ group exhibited a substantial decrease in platelet activity when compared with SSRI- patients, as manifested by a significant reduction in ADP- (P=0.001), and collagen-induced (P=0.02) aggregation, and the expression of PECAM-1 (P=0.03), GPIb (P=0.03), GP IIb/IIIa antigen (P=0.02) and GP IIb/IIIa activity with PAC-1 antibody (P=0.04) and P-selectin (P=0.02). Therapy with SSRIs also resulted in the reduced formation of platelet-leukocyte microparticles (P=0.01). Epinephrine-induced aggregation in plasma, collagen-induced whole blood aggregation, closure time and expression of vitronectin receptor, CD63, CD107a, CD107b and CD151 did not differ between groups. In patients with CHF already on aspirin, SSRI therapy was associated with further inhibition of platelet function. This observation may help to explain some of the clinical benefits associated with SSRI therapy. Further clinical trials may help to elucidate the potential outcome benefits of SSRIs in other potential thrombotic circumstances.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aspirin / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Synergism
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Heart Failure / drug therapy*
  • Heart Failure / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Platelet Function Tests
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use*


  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
  • Aspirin