According to Time (08/08/11), researchers found that patients who were aged 65 and older and taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) medications—antidepressants that include Celexa—were more likely to suffer serious adverse effects than patients not taking the SSRIs. Among those adverse effects were stroke, falls, seizures, fractures and death.
Researchers noted that patients who were put on tricyclic antidepressants did not show the same elevated risk of adverse events. Elderly people could already be at an increased risk of adverse effects if they have multiple medical conditions and are taking a variety of medications at the same time. Having depression could also put a patient at an increased risk of serious health problems.
The British Medical Journal study examined data on more than 60,000 patients who were between the ages of 65 and 100 and were diagnosed with depression over a 10-year period. Of those, approximately 90 percent were given a prescription for an antidepressant. Fifty-five percent of those given an antidepressant were given an SSRI, the most commonly prescribed antidepressant in the study.
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The study's authors concluded that "Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and drugs in the group of other antidepressants were associated with an increased risk of several adverse outcomes compared with tricyclic antidepressants." They noted that the benefits and risks of antidepressants should be carefully weighed when the medications are prescribed to seniors.