Tags: antidepressants | raise | stroke risk | risks of SSRIs and TCAs

Antidepressants Raise Stroke Risk

Wednesday, 16 Dec 2009 07:42 AM

Post-menopausal women who take antidepressants raise their risk of suffering a stroke. A study of more than 136,000 American women found that those who took antidepressants were 45 percent more likely to have a stroke. The results were similar for those women taking selective serotonin uptake inhibitors (SSRIs, which include Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft) and women who took tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs, which include Elavil and Sinequan).

In addition, the overall death rate from any cause was 32 percent higher in women who took antidepressants than in non-users.

The study, which was published in the "Archives of Internal Medicine," examined data from 136,293 women aged 50 to 79. None were taking antidepressants at the beginning of the study, but 5,496 women were taking antidepressants at their first follow-up visit. The women were followed for six years and the researchers compared the incidence of fatal or nonfatal stroke, fatal or nonfatal heart attack, and death from all causes between the two groups.

While the researchers found no difference in the number of heart attacks, they found a significant difference in the risk of stroke: women who used antidepressants were 45 percent more likely to have strokes.

Senior author Sylvia Wassertheil-Smoller, Ph.D., and professor at Albert Einstein School of Medicine, cautioned that the overall risk of stroke—while significant—is relatively small: a .043 risk annually versus a 0.3 annual risk. And while there was no significant difference in the number of strokes caused by selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or tricyclic antidepressants, the SSRIs appeared to cause more hemorrhagic strokes (caused by bleeding in the brain).

Concerned women need to discuss their options with their doctors Dr. Wassertheil-Smoller said in a statement: "You have to weigh the benefits that you get from these antidepressants against the small increase in risk that we found in this study."

© HealthDay

 
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Post-menopausal women who take antidepressants raise their risk of suffering a stroke.
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Wednesday, 16 Dec 2009 07:42 AM
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