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Antidepressants linked to reduced risk of heart attacks

New research had showed that patients who are depressed and have already experienced// a heart attack; the risk of having another heart attack is lessened considerably with the use of antidepressant medications given to them.

Physicians often treat clinical depression, also known as unipolar depression, with antidepressant drugs like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). SSRIs are a group of drugs that can increase the level of serotonin in the body.

Clinical depression is characterized by a sense of foreboding, guilt, sadness, disinterest in activities, low levels of self-esteem and confidence, and in the extreme form may also manifest itself through self-harm and suicide.

Depression is a risk factor for myocardial infarction or heart attack. Researchers have found that after adjusting for depression and risk for cardiovascular disease, SSRI is associated with lessening of risk of death from heart attack or recurrence of non fatal heart attacks by about 43% in patients. The risk of death from recurrence of myocardial infarction was reduced by about 28% in patients under the influence of SSRIs than others.

After adjusting for baseline depression and cardiac risk, SSRI use was associated with 43 percent lower risk of death or recurrent non-fatal MI, and 43 percent lower risk of death from all causes, compared with patients not receiving SSRIs. Risk of death or recurrent MI, all-cause death, or recurrent MI was 28 percent, 36 percent, and 27 percent lower, respectively, in patients taking non-SSRI antidepressants, compared with nonusers.

From the research reports the conclusion that may b drawn is that in depressive patients who had heart attacks, use of SSRIs lower the risk of heart attack considerably.

Reference: Archives of General Psychiatry, July 2005

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