SSRI Antidepressants Associated With Risk Of Hemorrhagic Stroke.

Reuters (10/18, Norton) reports that use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants appears to be associated with somewhat increased chances of a hemorrhagic stroke, according to a meta-analysis published online Oct. 17 in the journal Neurology. For the study, investigators analyzed the results of 16 studies encompassing some 500,000 individuals.

HealthDay (10/18, Gordon) reports, “The increased risk for drugs such as Prozac (fluoxetine) and Paxil (paroxetine), however, still translates only to about a one in 10,000 rate of a hemorrhagic stroke for anyone taking an SSRI for a year.” In addition, “the raised risk tends to be strongest during the first few weeks and months after starting an SSRI,” the meta-analysis found.

WebMD (10/18, Doheny) reports, “For most people, though, the risk of stroke linked with these drugs is low, says researcher Daniel G. Hackam, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine at Western University in London, Ontario, Canada.” In general, “he says, ‘the additional bleeding risk is one per 10,000 people treated with SSRIs for one year.'” But, “for those who already have risk factors for bleeding stroke…the risk is higher, he says.”

Meanwhile, according to MedPage Today (10/18, Bankhead), “a separate analysisshowed that concomitant use of an SSRI and an anticoagulant significantly increased the risk of brain hemorrhage compared with anticoagulant use alone.” Even though “the analysis yielded statistically significant results, investigators offered a cautious assessment of the implications in an article reported in the Oct. 30 issue of Neurology.” Medscape (10/18, Brooks) also covers the story.

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— “Antidepressants linked to risk of brain bleeds ,”Amy Norton, Reuters, October 17, 2012.

Posted in In The News.