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Celexa Side Effects May Affect the Elderly

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Pittsburgh, PAWhen it comes to Celexa side effects, at least some of the focus has been on the risk of Celexa birth defects and whether or not Celexa is linked to birth defects at all. But a study recently published in the British Medical Journal suggests that seniors who take medications like Celexa could be at an increased risk of serious side effects, too.

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.

Researchers found that patients given an SSRI were 15 percent more likely to suffer a stroke and 80 percent more likely to suffer a seizure as compared with patients given a tricyclic antidepressant. Approximately 11 percent of seniors who were taking SSRI medications died in a one-year period. The risks of adverse effects were reportedly highest during the first 28 days of starting SSRI medications and the first 28 days after discontinuing medication. Furthermore, the highest risk of falls and of hyponatraemia occurred in the group who took an SSRI medication.

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.


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Female currant age 73.

2003 at age 62 started using Lexapro.

2006 at age 65 started using Celexa.

2014 continued using Celexa.

Current mood is waning to "indifference".

Current interests are deteriorating to negative.

Current social relationships negligible (1-3 individuals)

Current personal hygiene reduced by 25%

Current isolationist behavior increased by 70%

Current activity reduced to minimal trips to shop.

Current self medicating, alcohol (wine)

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