International Journal of Hematology

, Volume 106, Issue 6, pp 832–841 | Cite as

Effect of sertraline on complications and survival after hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation, a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study

  • Maria Tavakoli-Ardakani
  • Raziyeh Kheshti
  • Mehrpooya Maryam
Original Article


Previous studies have found a connection between psychiatric problems and post-hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation (HSCT) complications. We sought to evaluate the effect of sertraline on engraftment time, hospitalization period, mortality, and post-transplantation complications in HSCT recipients with depression and/or anxiety. We recruited adults aged 18–60, who were candidates for autologous or allogeneic HSCT with major depression and/or anxiety disorder. They were administered 50 mg of sertraline or placebo daily for the first week, and then 100 mg for the following seven weeks. We documented occurrence and severity of early post-HSCT complications, including infection, mucositis, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, pain, renal toxicities and liver complications, acute graft-versus-host disease, and veno-occlusive disease, as well as time to engraftment, length of hospitalization and 6-month mortality. Overall, 56 patients participated in the study (sertraline group n = 30, placebo group n = 26). Of the complications, only mortality and readmission up to 6 months post-transplantation were significantly higher in the placebo group compared to sertraline group (P values = 0.040, 0.028, respectively). There were no significant differences for other complications between the groups. Mean engraftment time was significantly lower in the sertraline group (P value = 0.048). This study provides evidence that sertraline positively influences engraftment time, readmission, and mortality after HSCT.


Stem cell transplantation Depression Sertraline Hematopoietic stem-cell 



This study was supported by the Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran. The authors thank all staff of Taleghani Hospital and all patients for helping and participating in the study.

Author contribution

All authors have been contributed significantly to this study as follow: MM designed the study, collected the data and edited the article draft. MTA designed the study, analyzed the data and edited the article draft. RK collected and analyzed the data, and wrote the article draft. All authors approved the final article draft. The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© The Japanese Society of Hematology 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Clinical Pharmacy, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Research CenterShahid Beheshti University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  2. 2.Department of Clinical Pharmacy, School of PharmacyShiraz University of Medical SciencesShirazIran
  3. 3.Department of Clinical Pharmacy, School of PharmacyHamadan University of Medical SciencesHamadanIran

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