Older Antidepressants May up Heart Disease Risk

More research is pointing to adverse reactions linked to anti-depressants. In this case, research that involved about 15,000 people in Scotland reveals that some <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/defective_drugs">older generation anti-depressants are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), says Science Daily.

The study revealed that the tricyclic class of anti-depressants were linked to a 35-percent increased risk of CVD, and that there was no increased risk with the newer anti-depressants, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), explained Science Daily. The study appears online, today, in the European Heart Journal. Researchers from University College London (UCL) led the study.

The prospective study looked at 14,784 men and women who did not have a known history of CVD and considered the first of its kind to look at such risks linked to these medications.

“Our study is the first to contain a representative sample of the whole community, including elderly and unemployed participants, men and women, etc. Therefore, our results can be generalised better to the wider community. The majority of previous work in this area has focused on clinical cardiac patients, so studies in healthy participants are very important. Given that anti-depressants, such as SSRIs, are now prescribed not only for depression, but for a wide range of conditions such as back pain, headache, anxiety and sleeping problems, the risks associated with anti-depressants have increasing relevance to the general population,” said Dr. Mark Hamer, Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at UCL (London, UK), quoted Science Daily.

During an average of eight years follow-up, the researchers discovered a 35-percent increased risk of CVD associated with tricyclic anti-depressants; SSRI use was not linked to an increased CVD risk. “Our findings suggest that there is an association between the use of tricyclic anti-depressants and an increased risk of CVD that is not explained by existing mental illness. This suggests that there may be some characteristic of tricyclics that is raising the risk. Tricyclics are known to have a number of side effects; they are linked to increased blood pressure, weight gain and diabetes and these are all risk factors for CVD,” said Dr. Hamer, quoted Science Daily.

Of note, Reuters recently reported that antidepressant medication might interfere with breast cancer treatments, causing patients to relapse and die.

And, SSRIs are not without their risks. Last October we wrote that women taking SSRIs during pregnancy may be likelier to experience premature birth and that babies born to women taking SSRIs were likelier to be admitted to an intensive care unit. In November, we wrote that the likelihood of premature child delivery triples in pregnant women with a history of depression and who take certain psychiatric drugs. In that study, researchers found that the medication-depression combination, when present before or during pregnancy, was significantly associated to childbirth earlier than at 35 weeks’ gestation.

Since 2005, information has been emerging that certain SSRIs may cause birth defects, including cardiac (heart), pulmonary (lung), neural-tube defects (brain and spinal cord), craniosynostosis (abnormally shaped skull) infant omphalocele (abdominal wall defects), club foot (one or both feet turn downward and inward), and anal atresia (complete or partial closure of the anus).

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