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Psychotropic medication use and risk of adverse cardiovascular events in women with suspected coronary artery disease: outcomes from the Women’s Ischemia Syndrome Evaluation (WISE) study
  1. D S Krantz1,
  2. K S Whittaker1,
  3. J L Francis1,
  4. T Rutledge2,
  5. B D Johnson3,
  6. G Barrow3,
  7. C McClure3,
  8. D S Sheps4,
  9. K York4,
  10. C Cornell5,
  11. V Bittner6,
  12. V Vaccarino7,
  13. W Eteiba3,
  14. S Parashar7,
  15. D A Vido8,
  16. C N Bairey Merz9
  1. 1
    Department of Medical and Clinical Psychology, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland, USA
  2. 2
    VA San Diego Healthcare System, San Diego, California, USA
  3. 3
    Department of Epidemiology, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
  4. 4
    Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida
  5. 5
    Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas, USA
  6. 6
    University of Alabama at Birmingham, Alabama, USA
  7. 7
    Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
  8. 8
    Allegheny General Hospital, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
  9. 9
    Heart Institute, Cedars-Sinai Research Institute, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr David S Krantz, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Department of Medical and Clinical Psychology, 4301 Jones Bridge Road, Bethesda, MD 20814, USA; dskrantz{at}


Objective: This study investigated the relation between psychotropic medication use and adverse cardiovascular (CV) events in women with symptoms of myocardial ischaemia undergoing coronary angiography.

Method: Women enrolled in the Women’s Ischemia Syndrome Evaluation (WISE) were classified into one of four groups according to their reported antidepressant and anxiolytic medication usage at study intake: (1) no medication (n = 352); (2) anxiolytics only (n = 67); (3) antidepressants only (n = 58); and (4) combined antidepressant and anxiolytics (n = 39). Participants were followed prospectively for the development of adverse CV events (for example, hospitalisations for non-fatal myocardial infarction, stroke, congestive heart failure and unstable angina) or all-cause mortality over a median of 5.9 years.

Results: Use of antidepressant medication was associated with subsequent CV events (HR 2.16, 95% CI 1.21 to 3.93) and death (HR 2.15, 95% CI 1.16 to 3.98) but baseline anxiolytic use alone did not predict subsequent CV events and death. In a final regression model that included demographics, depression and anxiety symptoms, and risk factors for cardiovascular disease, women in the combined medication group (that is, antidepressants and anxiolytics) had higher risk for CV events (HR 3.98, CI 1.74 to 9.10, p = 0.001 and all-cause mortality (HR 4.70, CI 1.7 to 2.97, p = 0.003) compared to those using neither medication. Kaplan-Meier survival curves indicated that there was a significant difference in mortality among the four medication groups (p = 0.001).

Conclusions: These data suggest that factors related to psychotropic medication such as depression refractory to treatment, or medication use itself, are associated with adverse CV events in women with suspected myocardial ischaemia.

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  • Funding This work was supported by contracts from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institutes, nos N01-HV-68161, N01-HV-68162, N01-HV-68163, N01-HV-68164, grants U0164829, U01 HL649141, U01 HL649241, T32HL69751, and grants from the Gustavus and Louis Pfeiffer Research Foundation, Danville, NJ, The Women’s Guild of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA, The Ladies Hospital Aid Society of Western Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, PA, and QMED, Inc, Laurence Harbor, NJ, the Edythe L Broad Women’s Heart Research Fellowship, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, California, and the Barbra Streisand Women’s Cardiovascular Research and Education Program, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • See Editorial, p 1893

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