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Study Suggests Lexapro Side Effects May Include Increased Bleeding

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Montreal, QuebecA new study found that heart attack patients who take both selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants and antiplatelet drugs could have a higher risk for bleeding, highlighting some of the potential Lexapro side effects, according to HealthDay.

These side effects emerge at a higher rate for patients who take both of the medications, as opposed to the lower chance for acquiring one of these symptoms when taking just one drug, the study found.

Researchers at McGill University in Montreal studied how some heart attack patients have depression symptoms and are prescribed antidepressants, something that may increase the risk of bleeding.

"We're always concerned about how other medicines might interact with the medicines we know are essential to heart health and recovery after heart attack," Dr. Kirk Garratt, clinical director of interventional cardiovascular research at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said in the study. "Although SSRIs are used in only a few cardiac patients, learning that SSRIs can increase [the] risk of bleeding complications could have important implications for how we care for patients after stents and other heart procedures."

According to data from the Canadian study, the researchers looked at more than 27,000 heart attack patients that were at least 50 years old, and found that individuals who took aspirin or Plavix alone had a similar risk for bleeding. However, those who took these drugs while also using an SSRI were 42 percent more likely to bleed, reported HealthDay.

The specific bleeding that was studied included gastrointestinal bleeding, hemorrhagic stroke or other types that required hospitalization.

According to the news source, the associated risks were lower for women and patients who had angioplasty after their heart attack.

SSRI's are prescribed to treat depression, and work by increasing the amount of serotonin, a natural substance in the brain that works to maintain mental balance, according to PubMed Health. Certain side effects have been noted for SSRIs, including nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, drowsiness, excessive tiredness, dry mouth and excessive sweating.

According to the US Food and Drug Administration, physicians should monitor the effects that the drug has on their patients, and should weigh the benefits versus the risks of prescribing the medication.


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It is a bit complicated. Although I have never been symptomatic, it was discovered that I had contracted Hep C/ Genome A in or around Sept 2005. After a consultation with my physician, it was decided that I would try the " Interferon/Ribaviran "treatment which was supposed to last for 1 year and eradicate the virus. After that time, the virus was still detectable, and so I continued on an augmented Interferon and Ribaviran treatment for another 1.5 yrs.

On or around Sept of 2007 something had changed in me, but was unable to discern exactly what was wrong at the time, as I displayed no physiological deficits indicative of a brain injury or a stroke. During the entire treatment, my Dr, had prescribed Lexapro as an antidepressant for me, as this Interferon treatment is brutal and notorious for causing depression, anxiety, and probably a long list of other side effects. The dose of Lexapro I was taking was 10mg at night to help me cope and sleep. I was on Lexapro for almost 2.5 years. Within a span of 60 days, I lost my marriage, my home, my two established businesses of 13 years, my outstanding credit, and virtually all of my friends because my brain had been fried and I never even knew it.
I had repeatedly complained to my gastroenterologist that there was something wrong with me and that I would not survive if I had to continue this brutal and life sucking treatment any longer. She attributed my state as a byproduct of the treatment (interferon / Ribaviran) and continued me on it for almost 5 more months. I kept returning and complaining to my primary care Dr. as the gastroenterologist was simply not reachable during this period. My primary care giver recognized immediately that I was in serious distress and after hearing and observing my symptoms, had me take a brain MRI. A bleed and stroke were discovered in the center front of my Rt. frontal lobe. The area of my brain that was destroyed was about the size of an acorn and took place in the same region that they used to give people frontal lobotomies. My personality had been so dramatically altered that I have been rendered to living in complete isolation, since I am unable to develop new friendships, learn new things as well as suffer from chronic fatigue and complacency, I have memory loss, decades of my life are unaccountable, my executive function aspect of my brain is badly damaged, I have no existing body clock nor appetite.

After I had discovered what had happened to me, I took my medical records to my attorney who sent them to a specialist in medical malpractice, they based their evaluation solely on the interferon and Ribaviran treatment, as well as the Gastroenterologist. Although she lacked the better part of discretion, the hep c treatment I was on and its extended duration could not be medically linked to the cause of the stroke, since there was no correlating evidence showing that people on this treatment (Interferon / Ribaviran) had incurred strokes, and no documented cases had been established as evidence to that point, they could not make a case.

My stroke was discovered around May of 2008. At that time, there was little awareness between SSRI's and brain bleeds leading to strokes. It was recently discovered that people on Lexapro risk a 50% higher chance of suffering a bleed in the brain leading to a stroke.
After my stroke had been discovered, I was very extensively tested and retested so that the Dr.'s could determine the cause. I was in great physical condition, no high BP, cholesterol, plaque, nothing. My neurologist felt that the only cause must have something about the treatment I was on, but she couldn't put her finger on it. What amazes me is that some of this information had actually been available since 2005, although until just the last 3 years or so, very few of these Dr's knew about the dangers of SSRI's (antidepressants). In fact, I just learned about it from a piece of spam in my email about 2 months ago if that.

It is my belief that the legal firm that reviewed my case were unaware of this connection between the Lexapro that I was on and the bleed in my brain leading to the stroke. They invested all of their time scrutinizing over the Interferon and Ribaviran as well as my Gostroenterologist, never taking the Lexapro I had been on for 2.5 years into consideration, and as a result, overlooking the most probable cause for it occurring.

I have seen cases established on people who were affected my mesothelioma 40 years ago and they have established valid claims. There does not seem to be a statute of limitations relevant to them that I understand. It is probably because the risks were unknown to them at the time, and as a result, they employed themselves unknowingly aware those years down the road, they would suffer a terrible death of slow suffocation. If anyone would have told me that Lexapro would double my risk of having a bleed and stroke, I am certain that I would have never taken it, especially in my weakened state due to the Hep C treatment that I was enduring. I would still be a married businessman respected with many friends if I had not suffered this cruel injury, but now, I have been diminished to little more than a statistic, permanently disabled and unemployable. My life ruined, my mind scattered in shards, fragmented as I endlessly struggle to understand to this day, what exactly happened to me, and who was it that I once used to be before the stroke.

I am certain beyond any reasonable doubt that I suffered a bleed in my brain resulting in a life changing stroke because I was taking Lexapro and was un-warned and unaware of its dangers for those 2 1/2 years. I believe that my neurologist would testify today that it was the cause of my bleed since this is now common knowledge. Do you think that it is possible for you to establish a case for me? Is there a loophole in the statute of limitations that would allow me to file for well deserved compensation? I have all of my medical records and then some. I have at least 5 Dr's who will testify that I am permanently disabled as a result of the bleed. Can you please help me and not turn away?

Thank you, I deeply appreciate your inquiry and response.
Respectfully Ronald P Sarvas
PS: This all occurred in Ma.


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