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Antidepressants Can Lead to Higher Risk of Heart Problems in Men?


According to a new study, men taking antidepressants may be at a higher risk of Atherosclerosis, which in turn can increase the risk of a heart or stroke.

As per the results of the research, antidepressants were associated with a five percent growth in thickness of the large artery in the neck known as the carotid artery. This particular artery is responsible for carrying blood to the brain.

For the purposes of this study, researchers collected data on 513 middle-aged male twins who were part of the Vietnam Era Twin Registry. Of that total, 16 percent of men were taking antidepressants and 60 percent took selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors like Prozac, Zoloft and Lexapro. The rest took antidepressants.

In an effort to specifically isolate the impact of the antidepressants on the blood vessels, the researchers measured the thickness of the carotid artery. They then found that a twin who took an antidepressant had a greater thickness of that particular artery than their brother who did not.

"There is a clear association between increased intima-media thickness and taking an antidepressant, and this trend is even stronger when we look at people who are on these medications and are more depressed," said Dr. Amit Shah, a cardiology fellow at in a news release from the American College of Cardiology.

"Because we didn't see an association between depression itself and a thickening of the carotid artery, it strengthens the argument that it is more likely the antidepressants than the actual depression that could be behind the association," he added.

The findings still remained true even after certain factors were taken into account such as age, diabetes, blood pressure, smoking habits, cholesterol and weight.

The results of this particular study were presented at the American College of Cardiology’s annual scientific session in New Orleans. It was funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

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