Sertraline treatment of mood disorder associated with prednisone: a case report

J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol. 1998;8(3):187-93. doi: 10.1089/cap.1998.8.187.


The use of corticosteroids, particularly high-potency steroids, for the treatment of various inflammatory conditions has been frequently associated with mood disturbance and psychosis. We report on a 12-year-old white boy treated with high doses of prednisone chronically for 7 years who presented with severe depression, irritability, violence, and psychosis. Sertraline was used to treat depressive as well as psychotic symptoms without the use of antipsychotics. This successful treatment of steroid-induced mood disorder and psychosis with a serotonin reuptake inhibitor is consistent with the literature describing a decrease in central and peripheral serotonin secretion due to steroids, as well as a possible relationship between mood and psychotic symptoms and low cerebrospinal fluid serotonin levels.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / adverse effects*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mood Disorders / chemically induced
  • Mood Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Mood Disorders / psychology
  • Prednisone / adverse effects*
  • Prednisone / therapeutic use
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychoses, Substance-Induced / drug therapy
  • Psychoses, Substance-Induced / psychology
  • Sertraline / therapeutic use*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation
  • Sertraline
  • Prednisone