Journal Article

Socioeconomic position and antidepressant use as predictors of coronary heart disease mortality: a population-based registry study of 362,271 Finns

Konttinen, H., Kilpi, F., Moustgaard, H., Martikainen, P.

Psychosomatic Medicine, 78:2, 144-152 (2016)



Objective: The interplay between depression and socioeconomic position (SEP) in predicting cardiovascular outcomes has rarely been examined. We investigated whether SEP modified the effect of antidepressant use on coronary heart disease (CHD) mortality.
Methods: The data consisted of an 11% random sample of the Finnish population aged 40 to 79 years at the end of 1999 with an oversample of 80% of those who died in 2000 to 2007. Participants free of CHD at baseline (n = 362,271) were followed up for CHD mortality in 2000 to 2007. SEP was assessed via registry-based information on education, occupational position, and income. Antidepressant use served as a proxy for depression and was derived from registry data on prescription medication purchases in the 5-year period preceding baseline. Age- and sex-adjusted Cox regression models with sampling weights were used.
Results: Individuals with antidepressant purchases in any year 1995 to 1999 had a higher risk of CHD deaths (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.68, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.62-1.75) than did those without purchases. Basic level of education (HR = 2.09, 95% CI = 2.01-2.17), blue-collar occupations (HR = 1.70, 95% CI = 1.65-1.75), and the lowest income tertile (HR = 2.79, 95% CI = 2.69-2.91) were related to increased relative risks for CHD mortality. No significant (p < .05) interactions emerged between the SEP indicators and antidepressant purchases indicating that the effect of antidepressant use on the relative risk for CHD was similar across varying levels of SEP.
Conclusions: Our study demonstrates that in a country with tax-funded universal health care services, low SEP does not exacerbate the adverse effects of depression-as measured by antidepressant treatment-on cardiovascular health.