Clinical implications of treating depressed older adults with SSRIs: possible risk of hyponatremia

J Gerontol Nurs. 2010 Apr;36(4):22-7; quiz 28-9. doi: 10.3928/00989134-20100202-04. Epub 2010 Apr 13.


Depression is a serious mental health problem in older adults. Some of the symptoms of depression include depressed mood, significant change in weight or appetite, changes in sleep patterns, a decrease in concentration and energy, and possible suicide. However, depression is a treatable illness, especially with the newer class of antidepressant agents, the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). One side effect of SSRI use includes hyponatremia, which is becoming an increasingly serious complication that may have harmful clinical ramifications. Older adults are especially at risk for hyponatremia and could experience serious consequences if left untreated. The purpose of this article is to use an individual example to demonstrate the clinical importance of detecting hyponatremia in older adults receiving SSRI treatment.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antidepressive Agents / adverse effects*
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Drug Monitoring / nursing
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment
  • Geriatric Nursing
  • Humans
  • Hyponatremia / chemically induced*
  • Hyponatremia / diagnosis
  • Hyponatremia / epidemiology
  • Hyponatremia / therapy
  • Incidence
  • Nursing Assessment
  • Patient Selection
  • Risk Factors
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors / adverse effects*
  • Severity of Illness Index


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors