Thursday 29 September 2022 12:08 AM Another health warning over anti-depressants trends now

Thursday 29 September 2022 12:08 AM Another health warning over anti-depressants trends now
Thursday 29 September 2022 12:08 AM Another health warning over anti-depressants trends now

Thursday 29 September 2022 12:08 AM Another health warning over anti-depressants trends now

Long-term antidepressant use could raise the risk of suffering and dying from heart disease, scientists say.

University of Bristol researchers discovered patients who had been taking the drugs for more than 10 years were up to twice as likely to be diagnosed with and die from heart disease.

Around one in six adults in England and one in five in the US take the drugs, which are thought to raise levels of chemicals in the brain that boost mood. 

Despite the finding, academics today urged millions taking the pills not to panic and insisted they were still safe to take.

The link they spotted may be down to depression itself pushing up the risk of heart problems, rather than the drugs themselves.

Researchers at the University of Bristol found that those who had been taking the drugs for more than 10 years were more likely to be diagnosed with and die from heart disease

Researchers at the University of Bristol found that those who had been taking the drugs for more than 10 years were more likely to be diagnosed with and die from heart disease

The team, led by Dr Narinder Bansal, compared the health of those taking antidepressant against those who were not over a 10-year period. They looked at eight types of the drug, all of which are dished out by the NHS. These included selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) citalopram (top picture), sertraline (second picture), fluoxetine and paroxetine. Around eight in 10 people on antidepressants in the UK take one of these drugs

The team, led by Dr Narinder Bansal, compared the health of those taking antidepressant against those who were not over a 10-year period. They looked at eight types of the drug, all of which are dished out by the NHS. These included selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) citalopram (top picture), sertraline (second picture), fluoxetine and paroxetine. Around eight in 10 people on antidepressants in the UK take one of these drugs

WHAT IS DEPRESSION? 

While it is normal to feel down from time to time, people with depression may feel persistently unhappy for weeks or months on end.

Depression can affect anyone at any age and is fairly common – approximately one in ten people are likely to experience it at some point in their life. 

Depression is a genuine health condition which people cannot just ignore or 'snap out of it'.

Symptoms and effects vary, but can include constantly feeling upset or hopeless, or losing interest in things you used to enjoy.

It can also cause physical symptoms such as problems sleeping, tiredness, having a low appetite or sex drive, and even feeling physical pain.

In extreme cases it can lead to suicidal thoughts.

Traumatic events can trigger it, and people with a family history may be more at risk.

It is important to see a doctor if you think you or someone you know has depression, as it can be managed with lifestyle changes, therapy or medication. 

Source: NHS Choices 

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To determine whether antidepressant use impacted heart health, the researchers examined data on 220,121 people aged 40 to 69 in the UK Biobank — a database containing the health records of half a million Britons.

The team, led by Dr Narinder Bansal, compared the health of those taking antidepressants against those who were not over a 10-year period.

They looked at eight types of the drug, all of which are dished out by the NHS.

These included selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) citalopram, sertraline, fluoxetine and paroxetine.

Around eight in 10 people on antidepressants in the UK take one of these drugs.

They also looked at four other antidepressants: mirtazapine, venlafaxine, duloxetine and trazodone.

The results, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry Open, show that those taking SSRIs were 34 per cent more likely to develop heart disease, compared to those not taking any antidepressants.

Users were nearly twice as likely to die from cardiovascular disease and 73 per cent more likely to die early from any cause.

For those taking the other four antidepressants, the risks were around twice as high as those not taking the drugs.

The team also spotted that antidepressants, particularly SSRIs, were linked with a 23 to 32 per cent lower

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