Study: SSRIs can worsen depression, may cause host of side effects
Antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can make patients’ depression worse and can cause a host of unpleasant side effects, according to new research published in the journal Frontiers in Evolutionary Psychology.
SSRIs are the most prescribed antidepressant in the United States and include the brand names Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa, Lexapro and Prozac. They are designed to boost the level of serotonin – a “feel good” chemical – in the brain. Increasing serotonin levels can improve the symptoms of depression, but it may also cause digestive problems, sexual difficulties and even strokes and premature deaths in older adults, according to the new research.
The drugs were found to be more effective in patients with severe depression and often did little good for people with mild and moderate forms of the condition.
SSRIs have also been linked to a variety of problems for both the mother and developing fetus when taken during pregnancy. In 2010, the Canadian Medical Association Journal reported a 68 percent increased risk of miscarriage in women on antidepressants.
Another study, conducted in 2009, found an increased risk of heart defects in infants born to women who used SSRIs during early pregnancy. The drugs have also been linked to high blood pressure in pregnant women, and developmental delays and autism in children who were exposed to SSRIs in utero.
“Basically, we started using these drugs before we understood what they do, because they showed some effectiveness,” Stafford Lightman, professor of medicine at the University of Bristol told The Daily Mail. “Nevertheless … It’s always worth pointing out that there is a downside to any medication.”
Source: Daily Mail