Glucose dysregulation associated with antidepressant agents: an analysis of 17 published case reports

  • Star Khoza
  • Jamie C. BarnerEmail author
Review Article


Aim of the review Although there are several case reports in literature linking use of antidepressants and disturbances in glucose control, it is difficult to identify risk factors for serious adverse drug events from individual case reports. The aim of this review is to provide a descriptive analysis of the demographic and clinical characteristics of published glucose dysregulation case reports following initiation of antidepressant agents. Methods Published case reports of glucose dysregulation associated with antidepressants were accessed through PubMed (Medline), PsycINFO, and Web of Science (WOS) between January 1, 1970 and April 30, 2010. The following key words were used: antidepressant agents, glucose dysregulation, hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia, diabetes mellitus, and diabetic ketoacidosis. Case reports were excluded if glucose dysregulation occurred after a drug overdose/improper dosing or after the patient was prescribed drugs known to cause glucose disturbances in addition to antidepressant agents. Results Out of the 17 cases reports reviewed, nine (53%) were of hyperglycemia while eight (47%) were of hypoglycemia. Hyperglycemia was reported following treatment with clomipramine, fluvoxamine, imipramine, mianserin, mirtazapine, paroxetine, and sertraline. Hypoglycemia was reported following treatment with doxepine, fluoxetine, imipramine, nefazodone, nortriptyline, maprotiline, and sertraline. Fourteen out of the seventeen patients were female (82%) while ten had a history of diabetes mellitus (59%). The average age of the patients was 53.9 (SD = 17.5) years (range: 24–84 years). The time to onset of glucose dysregulation ranged from 4 days to 5 months after initiation of antidepressant therapy. More than two-thirds (68%) of the cases (n = 11) reported glucose control disturbances within 1 month of therapy. Conclusions It is not clear from published case reports whether changes in glucose regulation, following antidepressant therapy initiation are due to antidepressants or changes in mood and lifestyle. Nonetheless, healthcare providers should be aware of the potential changes in glucose regulation especially in the first month of antidepressant therapy, and use appropriate clinical and laboratory monitoring to prevent serious adverse events in patients at risk.


Antidepressant agents Case reports Glucose dysregulation 



The authors would like to thank the reviewers for their invaluable comments and suggestions on the manuscript.


This publication did not receive funding from a grant agency or company.

Conflicts of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interests to declare.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of PharmacyThe University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA

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