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Do Antidepressants Make Bones Brittle?
Date:7/12/2008

Studies suggest an increased fracture risk in people who take the medications

FRIDAY, July 11 -- (HealthDay News) -- Older adults may get a needed mood boost from a prescribed antidepressant, but they're also at increased risk for bone fractures, a growing number of studies suggest.

In one of the latest reports, Leslie Spangler, a researcher at Group Health, a Seattle-based health plan, found that antidepressant use in postmenopausal women, who averaged 64 years of age, was linked to an increased risk of fractures of the spine and other sites.

"Our study didn't show any strong association between antidepressants and wrist fractures and hip fractures," she said. "It did find an association with spine fracture."

Those women on antidepressants had a 30 percent increased risk of spine fracture, she said, and a 20 percent increased risk of any type of fracture.

Spangler's team based its findings on a review of data from more than 93,000 women enrolled in the large Women's Health Initiative Observational Study. First, the researchers looked at antidepressant use, then they looked at the incidence of fractures. The findings were published in the May issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

In an earlier study, Dr. David Goltzman, director of the McGill Centre for Bone and Periodontal Research at McGill University in Montreal, looked at data from an osteoporosis study that included more than 5,000 randomly selected people, including 137 who took antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, daily. The researchers found that daily SSRI users had twice the risk of bone fracture as those who didn't take the drugs.

Serotonin is a brain chemical linked to depression. It's also involved in the physiology of bone, said Goltzman, who added that if you change that system, you can get low bone density, boosting fracture risk. His research was published in 2
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