Link Between Psych Drugs, Heart Deaths Seen in Another Study

New research is pointing to cardiac arrest and links to antidepressants and some psychiatric drugs. HealthDay News reported that the findings are preliminary; however, we have long been reporting on other research that has found similar associations.

In March we wrote about a study that 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, in a previous article, reported that the reason for the link remains unknown, citing researchers whose findings were published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. At that time, 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.

That study was conducted by Dr. William Whang, an assistant professor of clinical medicine at Columbia University Medical Center in Manhattan. Whang explained, “We found that women who had worse depressive symptoms had higher rates of risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, and smoking,” quoted HealthDay News. As a matter-of-fact, the report indicated, said HealthDay News, women with clinical depression were at a two-fold risk of experiencing SCD.

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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.

In August 2008, United Kingdom researchers reported that more people than was at first believed could be at a higher risk of suffering a stroke due to antipsychotic drugs. Earlier research only pointed to some types of the drug as increasing the risk, especially for those diagnosed with dementia. A study published at the time, in the British Medical Journal, said all forms of antipsychotic drugs increase stroke risk and this increase occurs in all patients.

The new study was conducted by Finnish researchers who looked at drugs taken by 321 patients who suffered cardiac death or those taken by 609 patients who survived heart attacks, said HealthDay News.

Although the study did not disclose what psychiatric drugs were reviewed, it states that the patients who suffered cardiac death were likelier to have taken one of three types of drugs: Antipsychotics; antidepressants; and benzodiazepines, such as Xanax, explained HealthDay News. Heart attack survivors generally took aspirin or cardiac medications known as beta-blockers, said HealthDay News.

In an earlier Natural News article, it said that SSRI antidepressants, 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, noting that Prozac maker, Eli Lily, lists a variety of adverse cardiac symptoms on the official package insert for physicians.

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