Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Antidepressants and stroke risk

Middle-aged women who take antidepressants may be at an increased risk of stroke. Researchers from Harvard Medical School compared six years' worth of data on 5,500 postmenopausal women who took the drugs with 130,000 people who did not take them. Women taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) had a 45% increase in their risk of stroke and a 32% increase in risk of death from any cause and similar results were found for women taking tricyclic antidepressants. However, the overall risk of any one individual suffering a stroke remained very small - 0.3% in a year for women not taking the drugs and 0.4-0.5% for those taking them. The authors of the study advised people to take other steps to reduce their stroke risk such as losing weight, lowering their blood pressure and stopping smoking rather than running the risk of depression which itself can have adverse consequences on physical health. You can find out more about this research at

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