Problems associated with long-term treatment with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors

J Psychopharmacol. 2009 Nov;23(8):967-74. doi: 10.1177/0269881108093582. Epub 2008 Jul 17.


Although the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which are now widely used as a first-line treatment for depression and many other psychiatric conditions, are generally well tolerated, they are not devoid of side effects. Most short-term treatment-related side effects of SSRIs are transient and disappear after a few days or weeks. However, following long-term treatment with the SSRIs, some serious adverse events may occur. Some of them can be difficult to recognise because they can resemble residual symptoms of depression. The most serious can be life threatening. They all have a negative influence on the patient's quality of life and are frequently a prime reason for a lack of long-term compliance with the associated increased risk of recurrence of a depressive episode. This article is an overview of the more common adverse events, which are seen with non-acute treatment with the SSRIs.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Female
  • Fetus / drug effects
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / chemically induced
  • Humans
  • Hyponatremia / chemically induced
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome / etiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors / adverse effects*
  • Sexual Behavior / drug effects
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / chemically induced
  • Suicide


  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors