Acute and chronic toxicity of five selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors in Ceriodaphnia dubia

Theodore B Henry, Jeong-Wook Kwon, Kevin L Armbrust, Marsha C Black

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    155 Citations (Scopus)


    Contamination of surface waters by pharmaceutical chemicals has raised concern among environmental scientists because of the potential for negative effects on aquatic organisms. Of particular importance are pharmaceutical compounds that affect the nervous or endocrine systems because effects on aquatic organisms are possible at low environmental concentrations. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are drugs used to treat clinical depression in humans, and have been detected in low concentrations in surface waters. In this investigation, the acute and chronic toxicity of five SSRIs (fluoxetine, Prozac; fluvoxamine, Luvox; paroxetine, Paxil; citalopram, Celexa; and sertraline, Zoloft) were evaluated in the daphnid Ceriodaphnia dubia. For each SSRI, the 48-h median lethal concentration (LC50) was determined in three static tests with neonate C. dubia, and chronic (8-d) tests were conducted to determine no-observable-effect concentrations (NOEL) and lowest-observable-effect concentrations (LOEC) for reproduction endpoints. The 48-h LC50 for the SSRIs ranged from 0.12 to 3.90 mg/L and the order of toxicity of the compounds was (lowest to highest): Citalopram, fluvoxamine, paroxetine, fluoxetine, sertraline. Mortality data for the 8-d chronic tests were similar to the 48-h acute data. The SSRIs negatively affected C. dubia reproduction by reducing the number of neonates per female, and for some SSRIs, by reducing the number of broods per female. For sertraline, the most toxic SSRI, the LOEC for the number of neonates per female was 0.045 mg/L and the NOEC was 0.009 mg/L. Results indicate that SSRIs can impact survival and reproduction of C. dubia; however, only at concentrations that are considerably higher than those expected in the environment.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2229-2233
    Number of pages5
    JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2004


    • toxicity
    • DRUGS
    • pharmaceutical
    • IN-VIVO
    • selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors Ceriodaphnia dubia


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