According to a US study that followed 136,293 women aged 50 to 79 for an average of six years, those who used anti-depressants were 45 per cent more likely to have a stroke than those who didn’t. When overall death rates were taken into account, those on anti-depressants had a 32 per cent higher risk of death from all causes during the study than non-users. Still, researchers stressed the overall risk of a stroke was relatively small: even for women on anti-depressants, less than one in 200 chance in a given year. But since so many women are anti-depressants, the effect is likely significant across the entire population. It isn’t clear whether anti-depressants alone up the risk for a stroke, and depression is known to be a risk factor for cardiovascular problems. Researchers said this may have influenced final results. The study found no difference in stroke risk between the two major classes of anti-depressents (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or tricyclic anti-depressants), but did find the SSRIs seemed to convey a higher risk of hemorrhagic stroke, which is caused by a bleed in the brain.
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