Taking the most common type of antidepressant can increase the risk of certain types of strokes, according to a study published in the journal Neurology.
The new research builds on previous studies that linked use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) to major bleeding, such as gastrointestinal bleeding. SSRIs include brand name drugs Zoloft, Paxil, Lexapro and Prozac. SSRIs are thought to inhibit the clumping together of platelets, which could cause internal bleeding.
The new study focused on antidepressant use and stroke. Canadian researchers analyzed 16 studies and found that of the combined 500,000 participants, those taking SSRIs were 51 percent more likely to have intracranial hemorrhagic stroke and about 42 percent were more likely to have an intracerebral hemorrhagic stroke, compared to people who did not take SSRIs.
The study found that the likelihood of stroke was greater within the first few months of starting SSRIs. Researcher say while people taking SSRIs are at greater risk for these strokes, the incidence is still rare.
SSRIs are the most common type of antidepressants and are among the most prescribed drugs in the United States.
Makers of SSRIs have been slapped with lawsuits in recent years by women who say the drug companies knew SSRIs increased the risk of birth defects if taken by the mother during pregnancy, but withheld this information. SSRI use in pregnancy has been linked to complications such as pre-eclampsia and preterm birth, and to birth defects including newborn persistent pulmonary hypertension, spina bifida, heart defects, and malformations.
Source: Fox News