Paxil, the commonly prescribed antidepressant, might also help prevent heart failure.
That’s the chief finding of new research out of the University of Michigan that determined the drug appears to block production of proteins in the blood that can trigger heart failure.
Although many drugs are beneficially prescribed for “off-label” conditions, for which they have not been specifically designed, UM researchers said the new study is the first to identify a direct link between a specific mental-health drug and a heart-healthy benefit.
Lead researcher John Tesmer, with the UM Life Sciences Institute and professor in the Department of Pharmacology at the UM Medical School, said his research team discovered the connection almost by accident.SPECIAL: These 4 Things Happen Right Before a Heart Attack — Read More.
"It was completely serendipitous," said Kristoff Homan, a researcher with Tesmer's lab.
According to a report on the UM study, published in the American Chemical Society journal ACS Chemical Biology, researchers found that Paxil — known chemically as paroxetine, a so-called a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) — blocks the production of key proteins tied to heart failure.
They hit on the connection by screening 2,000 compounds in many Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs those that would block the proteins, without interfering with heart rate.
Paxil is FDA-approved and has been clinically used as an SSRI for nearly 30 years.