1. Section Editor(s): Pfeifer, Gail MA, RN

Article Content

Antidepressants and stroke or death in older women. Postmenopausal women who take antidepressants have a higher risk of stroke and death, according to the largest study to examine this association. Compared with women who didn't use antidepressants, those who took selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors were 45% more likely to have a stroke, especially hemorrhagic stroke, and 32% more likely to die of any cause. The results were similar in women who used older tricyclic antidepressants. Researchers examined data on the nearly 5,500 subjects in the Women's Health Initiative who began antidepressant therapy between enrollment and the first follow-up visit. The link between antidepressants and death hadn't previously been observed, and it remains unknown whether the drugs are a cause of death or a marker for risk. "Our results suggest that physicians should be vigilant about controlling other modifiable cardiovascular risk factors in women taking antidepressants," the authors concluded in the December 14-28, 2009, Archives of Internal Medicine.