Antidepressants Linked to Higher Stroke Risk in Older Women

An emerging study has revealed that women who are post-menopausal and who take <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/defective_drugs">antidepressants may experience an increased risk of stroke, reports the BBC. While the risk is small, said the BBC, it is considered statistically important.

The study, which was conducted in the United States, looked at 136,293 women from the ages of 50 to 79, for about six years, said the BBC. The study, which is published in Archives of Internal Medicine and taken from the massive Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) Study, found that women who took anti-depressants were 45 percent likelier to suffer from a stroke versus women who did not take the medications, said the BBC.

Women on anti-depressants also experienced a 32 percent increased risk of death “from all causes” during the WHI study, versus women not on anti-depressants, said the BBC. The risk of stroke was considered small—under one in 200—but, with a large population of women taking the medications, the risk of stroke is considered significant, said the BBC.

Depression has been linked as a risk factor in cardiovascular issues, noted the BBC.

The risk for stroke for women on selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) versus women on tricyclic anti-depressants (TCAs) was no different, said the BBC. SSRIs and TCAs are the two major anti-depressant classes.

Earlier this year we wrote that a study then concluded that women with no history of cardiac problems but who use antidepressants are at an increased risk for sudden cardiac death (SCD). HealthDay News reported that the reason for the link remains unknown, according to the researchers whose findings were published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The researchers looked at over 63,000 American women in the Nurses Health Study, said HealthDay, with no history of previous stroke or heart disease from 1992 to 2004, said Natural News, and found a link between depression and heart risk; however, the link between SCD and antidepressants was significantly more pronounced. Also, antidepressant use was not linked with an increased risk of cardiac arrest over fatal heart disease, only with the increased risk of SCD, reported HealthDay News. Prior research established the link between depression and an increased risk of death for those with heart disease, explained Whang, who noted, “But this was a group of women without heart disease, and that makes it different,” said HealthDay News.

To determine which women suffered from depression, the team reviewed their self-reported depression symptoms and use of antidepressants, for instance, Prozac, said Natural News. A link was clearly present with serious heart rhythm problems, which include those causing sudden death, said HealthDay News. The American Heart Association explained, said Natural News, that SCD causes sudden death from an unexpected loss of heart function.

SSRIs such as Prozac, Lexapro, Zoloft, and Paxil have been described as safe for the heart; however, a number of cardiovascular side effects, such as irregular heart rhythms and potentially lethal arrhythmias, are known to occur in some taking these medications, said Natural News, noting that Prozac maker, Eli Lily, lists a variety of adverse cardiac symptoms on the official package insert for physicians.

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