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New Study Highlights the Risks of SSRI Side Effects on Older Women

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Bethesda, MDA recent study performed by the Women's Health Initiative has revealed yet another risk for patients using selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) to combat depression. The December 2009 study found that serious SSRI side effects may increase the likelihood of stroke and death in post-menopausal women.

The 15-year study, which followed more than 160,000 women between the ages of 50 and 79, found that women taking SSRI medications or older tricyclic antidepressants were 45 percent more likely to have a stroke and 32 percent more likely to die suddenly when compared to the control group of women not using the medications.

Researchers are quick to point out that mental health factors that could require a woman to take antidepressants may in fact contribute to the degenerative heart health. In past studies, mental illnesses have been linked to diseases of the heart and blood vessels.

"It is difficult to confidently tease apart the contribution of depression and the drugs used to treat it," says Dr. Jordan W. Smoller, one of the co-authors of the study, in a statement to WebMD.

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