Menopausal Women on Antidepressant Have Increased Risk of a Stroke

April 28, 2010


A recent study by researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine was recently published in the Archives of Internal Medicine and sounds a warning for menopausal women who are subject to depression.

Depression is already a known risk factor for cardiovascular disease but it seems that taking antidepressants may significantly increase the risk of stroke for women who are post menopause. The study is based on data from the well respected Women’s Health Initiative which was responsible for proving that hormone replacement therapy significantly increased the risk of heart attack, stroke, cancer and death in postmenopausal women.

This was a long term six year study of over 136,000 women between the ages of 50 and 79. They found that those taking antidepressants were 45 percent more likely to suffer from a stroke in that time than women not taking the drugs, and 32 percent more likely to die from any cause. The risk of stroke for a postmenopausal woman taking an antidepressant was roughly one in 200 in each given year and the increased stroke risk from antidepressants remained the same regardless of which drug class women were taking, whether they were selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or tricyclics. However SSRIs appeared to pose a higher risk for a hemorrhagic stroke caused by brain bleeding.

The Stroke Association are currently funding further studies to look into the links between depression and the risk of stroke. If you want to reduce your own risk then simple measures to take are to make lifestyle changes such as reducing your blood pressure, giving up smoking, reducing alcohol intake, improving your diet and getting plenty of exercise.


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