Antidepressants do not up heart risk

Commonly used antidepressants do not appear to increase the risk of heart conditions, such as strokes and heart attacks, a new study suggests.

It is already known that depression can increase the risk of heart-related problems, however according to UK researchers, whether antidepressants are linked with this increased risk is a point of ../../contention.

Since antidepressants are one of the most commonly prescribed drugs worldwide, and heart-related problems are a leading cause of illness and death, the researchers decided to look into this further.

They focused on one of the most commonly prescribed type of antidepressants - SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). The study included almost 239,000 patients aged between 20 and 64. All had been diagnosed with depression between 2000 and 2011.

The researchers looked at the different types of antidepressants being used, how long they had been used for and at what dosage. The participants were also monitored for heart-related problems including strokes, heart attacks and arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) over a five-year period.

The study found no evidence that SSRIs increased the risk of strokes, heart attacks or arrhythmia during the study period. In fact, there was some evidence to suggest that SSRIs reduced the risk of heart attacks.

The researchers from the University of Nottingham acknowledged that this was an observational study, so no firm conclusions about cause and effect can be made. However, they added that the findings are ‘reassuring in light of recent safety concerns about SSRIs'.

Details of these findings are published in the British Medical Journal.

 

[Posted: Thu 24/03/2016]


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