Antidepressant Use Raises Risk of Death, According to Research

By Rebecca Lewis on September 22, 2017

The side effects of antidepressants are well-known. But the list seems to pile up overtime. According to new research by McMaster University, these drugs may also increase the risk of death.

"We are very concerned by these results. They suggest that we shouldn’t be taking antidepressant drugs without understanding precisely how they interact with the body," said lead author Paul Andrews, an associate professor at McMaster University.

The researchers reviewed studies involving hundreds of thousands of people who used antidepressant medications. They found that antidepressant users had a 33% higher chance of death than non-users. Antidepressant users also had a 14% higher risk of cardiovascular events, such as strokes and heart attacks.

"Our findings are important because they undermine this assumption. I think people would be much less willing to take these drugs if they were aware how little is known about their impact outside of the brain, and that what we do know points to an increased risk of death." Said co-author Marta Maslej.

Their findings were published in the Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics journal.

Antidepressants are among the most frequently used medications. These drugs are commonly prescribed by GPs even without clear diagnosis of depression in the assumption that they are safe. These drugs work by blocking the absorption of serotonin by neurons. Serotonin is the hormone which affects mood.

Antidepressants are also known to cause other short-term and long-term symptoms, such as sleep disturbances, daytime sleepiness, migraine or headache, nausea, weight gain, and fatigue. They can also cause sexual symptoms.

While medications are the most common treatment for depression and related mental health disorders, there are other safer and more effective treatments that patients can consider. These include talk therapy (psychotherapy) and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

Source of this article:

Antidepressants associated with significantly elevated risk of death, researchers find

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