The aim of the present study was to evaluate the association between depression and SSRI monotherapy and frailty both baseline and prospectively in older adults.
Prospective cohort study, 12-month follow-up.
Geriatric outpatient clinic in São Paulo, Brazil.
A total of 811 elderly adults aged 60 or older.
Depression was diagnosed as follows: (1) a diagnosis of major depression disorder (MDD) according to DSM-5; or (2) an incomplete diagnosis of MDD, referred to as minor or subsyndromic depression, plus Geriatric Depression Scale 15-itens ≥ 6 points, and social or functional impairment secondary to depressive symptoms and observed by relatives. Frailty evaluation was performed through the FRAIL questionnaire, which is a self-rated scale. Trained investigators blinded to the baseline assessment conducted telephone calls to evaluate frailty after 12-month follow-up. The association between depression and the use of SSRI with frailty was estimated through a generalized estimating equation adjusted for age, gender, total drugs, and number of comorbidities.
Depression with SSRI use was associated with frailty at baseline (OR 2.82, 95% CI = 1.69–4.69) and after 12 months (OR 2.75, 95% CI = 1.84–4.11). Additionally, depression with SSRI monotherapy was also associated with FRAIL subdomains Physical Performance (OR 1.99, 95% CI = 1.29–3.07) and Health Status (OR 4.64, 95% CI = 2.11–10.21). SSRI use, without significant depressive symptoms, was associated with subdomain Health Status (OR 1.52, 95% CI = 1.04–2.23).
It appears that depression with SSRI is associated to frailty, and this association cannot be explained only by antidepressant use.