Antidepressant stroke risk for older women


Middle-aged women who take antidepressants have an increased risk of stroke, and of dying young, according to new research.

A study of 136,000 women aged 50-79 found that those taking antidepressants were 45 per cent more likely to have a stroke, and 32 per cent more likely to die prematurely.

Women on antidepressants were no more likely than other women to have a heart attack, however.

It is unclear why the risk of stroke and early death is increased, and the researchers say that it is possible that it is in part due to the depression itself.

Dr Jordan Smoller, who led the research, said: 'Although these results raise concerns about adverse effects of antidepressants, it is important to note that depression itself has been implicated as a risk factor for coronary heart disease, stroke, early death, and other adverse outcomes.'

The increased risk was the same for patients taking both selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as Prozac, and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), reports the Guardian. However, SSRIs were more associated with bleeding in the brain.

Dr Smoller advised that: 'Older women taking antidepressants, like everyone else, should also work on modifying their other risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as maintaining a healthy weight and controlling cholesterol levels and blood pressure.'



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