A new study has linked the usage of antidepressants and other psychiatric medication to alleviate mood disorders to an increased risk of some strokes caused by bleeding in the brain. However, the risk is low, suggests the study.
For the study, the researchers reviewed and analyzed all of the previous studies that have looked at the link between antidepressant use and stroke. This included an analysis of 16 studies with more than 500,000 participants.
The findings of the study revealed that those who took selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which are the most commonly used antidepressants, were 50 percent more likely to have an intracranial hemorrhage when compared to those who did not take antidepressants. Also, antidepressant users were also found to be 40 percent more likely to have an intracerebral hemorrhage.
However, according to study author Daniel G. Hackam, MD, PhD, FRCPC, of Western University in London, Ontario, the findings should be viewed carefully.
“Because these types of strokes are very rare, the actual increased risk for the average person is very low,” he said. An estimated 24.6 of these strokes occur per 100,000 people per year.
According to the study findings the usage of popular antidepressants would increase the risk by one additional stroke per 10,000 people per year, which is very low.
“Overall, these results should not deter anyone from taking an SSRI when it is needed,” Hackam said.
“In general these drugs are safe, and obviously there are risks to having depression go untreated. But doctors might consider other types of antidepressants for people who already have risk factors for these types of strokes, such as those taking blood thinners, people who have had similar strokes already or those with severe alcohol abuse.”
The multi-study analysis was published in the October 17, 2012, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
Research Scientist Consultant @ U-VIB
PhD, Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling
NREMT-P (National Registry of Paramedics)
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source: Counsel & Heal By Drishya Nair