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Antidepressants linked to increased risk of stroke: study

(Xinhua)

14:07, October 18, 2012

WASHINGTON, Oct. 17 (Xinhua) -- Use of popular antidepressants is linked to an increased risk of some strokes caused by bleeding in the brain, but that risk is low, according to a multi-study analysis published Wednesday in the online issue of Neurology.

For the research, scientists analyzed all of the studies that have looked at antidepressant use and stroke, which included 16 studies with more than 500,000 total participants. They found that people taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which are the most commonly used antidepressants, were 50 percent more likely to have an intracranial hemorrhage than those not taking the antidepressants and about 40 percent more likely to have an intracerebral hemorrhage.

But study author Daniel Hackam, of Western University in Canada, said the findings should be viewed with caution because these types of strokes are very rare and the actual increased risk for the average person is very low.

"Overall, these results should not deter anyone from taking an SSRI when it is needed," Hackam said. "But doctors might consider other types of antidepressants for people who already have risk factors for these types of strokes, such as those taking blood thinners, people who have had similar strokes already or those with severe alcohol abuse."

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