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Common Antidepressants Linked to Increased Bone Loss in Older Adults

RI use may have a direct deleterious effect on bone. This theory is supported by findings of in vitro and in vivo laboratory investigations," they write.

"Our findings suggest that, in this cohort, use of SSRIs is associated with increased rates of hip bone loss. Further investigation of SSRI use and rates of change in bone mineral density in other populations with longer follow-up is warranted given the recent description of serotonin transporters in bone," the authors conclude.

The second study, 5,995 men age 65 and older (average age 73.7), was conducted by researchers led by Dr Elizabeth M. Haney, of Oregon Health and Sciences University, Portland.

The men's bone density at the hip, including subregions, and at the base of the spine were measured between 2000 and 2002. Participants were asked to bring all medications to their clinic visit, where they were also given a physical examination and asked about other health and lifestyle factors.

A total of 160 (2.7 percent) men reported using SSRIs, 99 (1.7 percent) reported using tricyclic antidepressants and 52 (0.9 percent) reported using trazodone, a third type of antidepressant. Total hip bone mineral density was 3.9 percent lower among SSRI users than among men who didn't use any antidepressants. Similarly, spine bone mineral density was 5.9 percent lower among SSRI users than among non-users.

There was no significant difference in either hip or spine density between men who took tricyclic antidepressants or trazodone and those who did not take antidepressants.

"These associations are biologically plausible and clinically important. Because SSRI use is prevalent in the general population, our findings have a potentially important public health impact. If confirmed, people using SSRIs might be targeted for osteoporosis screening and preventive intervention," the authors write.

The two studies appear in the June 25
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