Antidepressant side effects reported more by patients with co-occurring panic disorder

January 4, 2017 by Sharon Parmet, University of Illinois at Chicago
Stewart Shankman, professor of psychology and psychiatry at UIC. Credit: University of Illinois at Chicago

Patients who take medication for depression report more side effects if they also suffer from panic disorder, according to a new study led by researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

The researchers looked at data from 808 patients with who were given antidepressants as part of the Research Evaluating the Value of Augmenting Medication with Psychotherapy (REVAMP) trial. Of those patients, 85 also had diagnoses of .

Among all participants, 88 percent reported at least one side effect during the 12 week trial, which ran from 2002 through 2006. Every two weeks, antidepressant were assessed, and categorized as gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, dermatological, neurological, genitourinary, sleep, or sexual functioning.

The researchers found that patients with depression and panic disorder were more likely than those with only depression to self-report gastrointestinal (47 percent vs. 32 percent), cardiovascular (26 percent vs. 14 percent), neurological (59 percent vs. 33 percent), and genital/urinary side effects (24 percent vs. 8 percent). Co-occurring panic disorder was not associated with eye or ear issues or dermatological, sleep or sexual functioning side effects compared to participants without panic disorder.

"People with panic disorder are especially sensitive to changes in their bodies," said Stewart Shankman, professor of psychology and psychiatry at UIC and corresponding author on the paper. "It's called 'interoceptive awareness.'

"Because these patients experience panic attacks—which are sudden, out-of-nowhere symptoms that include heart racing, shortness of breath, and feeling like you're going to die—they are acutely attuned to changes in their bodies that may signal another coming on. So it does make sense that these tuned-in patients report more physiological side effects with antidepressant treatment."

Response to antidepressants varies greatly, and side effects are common. Many patients who experience side effects switch medication or change dosage. Some discontinue therapy altogether.

Participants with co-occurring panic disorder were also more likely to report a worsening of their depressive symptoms over the 12 weeks if they reported multiple side effects.

"In patients with panic disorder, the more side effects they reported, the more depressed they got," said Shankman. "Whether the side effects are real or not doesn't matter, but what was real was that their worsened as a function of their side effects."

Shankman cautions that physicians and therapists should be aware that their with panic disorder may report more side effects, and they should "do a thorough assessment of these side effects to try to tease out what might be the result of hypersensitivity, or what might be a side worth switching doses or medications for."

Explore further: Sleep apnea tied to increased risk of panic disorder

Related Stories

Sleep apnea tied to increased risk of panic disorder

July 24, 2015
(HealthDay)—Sleep apnea seems to be associated with increased risk of subsequent panic disorder, according to a study published in the July/August issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

Study offers insight on antidepressant-induced female sexual dysfunction

September 28, 2016
One in 6 women in the U.S. takes antidepressants to improve her well-being, but what is she to do when the medication that is meant to help disrupts another area of her life?

Panic attacks associated with fear of bright daylight

October 20, 2014
Fear of bright daylight is associated with panic disorder, according to new presented at the ECNP congress in Berlin.

Roseroot herb shows promise as potential depression treatment option

March 26, 2015
Rhodiola rosea (R. rosea), or roseroot, may be a beneficial treatment option for major depressive disorder (MDD), according to results of a study in the journal Phytomedicine led by Jun J. Mao, MD, MSCE, associate professor ...

Link between panic attacks and heart disease discovered

June 18, 2015
People who suffer from panic disorder are almost twice as likely to develop heart disease later in life than those who do not, according to new research.

Recommended for you

Prediction of psychotic onset with AI language analysis

January 24, 2018
Psychiatrists characterize schizophrenia, a mental condition with devastating effects on those who suffer it, by a set of intuitively understandable concepts including "poverty of speech" and "flight of ideas." These concepts, ...

Hospice patients define the changing nature of wisdom in their final days

January 24, 2018
Wisdom is typically considered to be the fruit of a long life, the accumulation of experiences lived and lessons learned. In recent years, scientists have created a consensus definition of wisdom as a complex trait with several ...

Short-course treatment for combat-related PTSD offers expedited path to recovery

January 23, 2018
Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can be debilitating and standard treatment can take months, often leaving those affected unable to work or care for their families. But, a new study demonstrated that many ...

Social and emotional skills linked to better student learning

January 23, 2018
Students with well-developed and adaptive social and emotional behaviours are most likely to excel in school, according to UNSW researchers in educational psychology.

Priming can negate stressful aspects of negative sporting environments, study finds

January 23, 2018
The scene is ubiquitous in sports: A coach yells at players, creating an environment where winning is the sole focus and mistakes are punished. New research from the University of Kansas shows that when participants find ...

Study of learning and memory problems in OCD helps young people unlock potential at school

January 22, 2018
Adolescents with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have widespread learning and memory problems, according to research published today. The findings have already been used to assist adolescents with OCD obtain the help ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.