OBJECTIVE: Suicidal ideation is an uncommon symptom than can emerge during antidepressant treatment. The biological basis of treatment-emergent suicidal ideation is unknown. Genetic markers may shed light on the causes of treatment-emergent suicidal ideation and help identify individuals at high risk who may benefit from closer monitoring, alternative treatments, or specialty care. METHOD: A clinically representative cohort of outpatients with major depressive disorder who enrolled in the Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression (STAR*D) trial were treated with citalopram under a standard protocol for up to 14 weeks. DNA samples from 1,915 participants were genotyped for 768 single-nucleotide polymorphisms in 68 candidate genes. Allele and genotype frequencies were compared between the 120 participants who developed treatment-emergent suicidal ideation and those who did not. RESULTS: Two markers were significantly associated with treatment-emergent suicidal ideation in this sample (marker rs4825476, p=0.0000784, odds ratio=1.94; permutation p=0.01; marker rs2518224, p=0.0000243, odds ratio=8.23; permutation p=0.003). These markers reside within the genes GRIA3 and GRIK2, respectively, both of which encode ionotropic glutamate receptors. CONCLUSIONS: Markers within GRIK2 and GRIA3 were associated with treatment-emergent suicidal ideation during citalopram therapy. If replicated, these findings may shed light on the biological basis of this potentially dangerous adverse event and help identify patients at increased risk.
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