Elderly patients commonly receive statin drugs for the primary or secondary prevention of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events. Elderly patients also commonly receive antidepressant drugs, usually selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), for the treatment of depression, anxiety, or other conditions. SSRIs are associated with many pharmacokinetic drug interactions related to the inhibition of the cytochrome P450 (CYP) metabolic pathways. There is concern that drugs that inhibit statin metabolism can trigger statin adverse effects, especially myopathy (which can be potentially serious, if rhabdomyolysis occurs). However, a detailed literature review of statin metabolism and of SSRI effects on CYP enzymes suggests that escitalopram, citalopram, and paroxetine are almost certain to be safe with all statins, and rosuvastatin, pitavastatin, and pravastatin are almost certain to be safe with all SSRIs. Even though other SSRI-statin combinations may theoretically be associated with risks, the magnitude of the pharmacokinetic interaction is likely to be below the threshold for clinical significance. Risk, if at all, lies in combining fluvoxamine with atorvastatin, simvastatin, or lovastatin, and even this risk can be minimized by using lower statin doses and monitoring the patient.
J Clin Psychiatry 2014;75(2):e95–e99 (doi:10.4088/JCP.13f08941)
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