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Keywords:

  • anxiety;
  • coagulation;
  • fibrinolysis;
  • hemostasis;
  • serotonin reuptake inhibitors

Aims:  Anxiety disorders have been shown to be correlated with an activation of coagulation and impairment of fibrinolysis. The aim of the study was to assess whether medication with a serotonergic antidepressant, which has been associated with abnormal bleeding, may modify this effect.

Methods:  Thirty-one anxiety patients, mostly with comorbid depression, and 31 healthy controls were included in the study. Group differences between anxiety patients medicated with a serotonergic antidepressant, patients without serotonergic antidepressant and controls were assessed for activated partial thromboplastin time, fibrinogen, factor VII, factor VIII, von Willebrand factor, von Willebrand ristocetin cofactor activity, prothrombin fragment 1 + 2, thrombin-antithrombin complex, d-dimer, α2-antiplasmin, plasmin-α2-antiplasmin complex (PAP), tissue plasminogen activator and plasminogen activator inhibitor. Intervening variables, such as age, sex, body mass index and smoking, were accounted for.

Results:  We found lower coagulation measures for fibrinogen (P = 0.03) and plasminogen activator inhibitor (P = 0.01), and higher levels of PAP (P = 0.046) in patients with serotonergic antidepressant than in patients without serotonergic antidepressant. When controlling for smoking and body mass index, differences between the two groups were significant for PAP (P = 0.02), von Willebrand ristocetin cofactor activity (P = 0.02) and activated partial thromboplastin time (P = 0.046). Coagulation scores were similar in patients with serotonergic antidepressant to those of healthy controls.

Conclusions:  Serotonergic antidepressants may counteract a procoagulant effect of anxiety and/or depression in anxiety patients.