This study is looking at genetics, antidepressant medication, and side effects. Although antidepressants, such as selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), are often effective and well-tolerated in children and adolescents, some will have difficulty with side effects.

One possible side effect is behavioral disinhibition. SSRI-induced behavioral disinhibition (SIBD) is characterized by a rapid onset of aggression, agitation, impulsivity, or hyperactivity following a start or increase in SSRI medication. This can result in socially inappropriate behavior and can lead to devastating consequences (e.g. suicidal impulses, violence). 10%–20% of children treated with SSRIs experience behavioral disinhibition.

There is currently no way for doctors to predict which children will experience SIBD and other side effects. Knowing which genes could increase the chance of side effects with certain medications could give doctors and parents a simple, low cost, personalized tool for assessing risk and choosing a medication. This study is including children and adolescents who have taken an SSRI, both with and without side effects, to look for genes that may lead to side effects with certain medications. This is an exploratory study that will hopefully provide information to improve prescribing practices in the future.


Currently recruiting participants: Yes

Eligible gender: Male, Female, Transgender, Other

Eligible ages: 6 to 24

Inclusion criteria:

1. Aged 6 – 24 years
2. Located in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba or British Columbia.
3. Medical records available (Alberta participants ONLY).
4. Diagnosis of MDD, anxiety disorder, or OCD
5. Current or past history of SSRI therapy
6. [Cases Only] History of behavioral disinhibition or other adverse effects following SSRI therapy that resolved after reduction or discontinuation of SSRI therapy.
7. [Controls Only] Current or past SSRI therapy for a minimum of 8 weeks without an occurrence/history of behavioral disinhibition or other adverse effects.

Exclusion criteria:

1. Inability of parent/legal guardian to give informed consent or inability of the child to give informed assent
2. Unwillingness of child to provide saliva sample for genetic analysis
3. Current, past or suspected diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder, bipolar disorder, psychotic disorder, or pervasive developmental disorder.


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Additional information

Contact information

Dr. Chad Bousman

Principal investigator:

Chad Bousman

Clinical trial: