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News2015April › Popular antidepressant increases build-up of fatty deposits in arteries six-fold › April 2015

Popular antidepressant increases build-up of fatty deposits in arteries six-fold

One of the most popular antidepressants could dramatically increase the risk of heart disease

One of the most popular antidepressants could dramatically increase the risk of heart disease. Zoloft, a SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor), raises levels of atherosclerosis plaque-fatty deposits in the arteries-six-fold, a new study has found.

Although it's known that depression causes atherosclerosis, the drug seems to super-charge the problem, say researchers from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Centre.

Their research has so far involved only female monkeys, and although human trials need to be carried out, the researchers are concerned that the same effects are happening in people taking the drugs.

Healthy monkeys who were given the SSRI developed three times the levels of atherosclerosis in their coronary arteries, but this doubled in those that were showing signs of depression.

The group of 42 monkeys were fed a typical Western diet for 18 months, and were also given the drug or a placebo every day.

They say their findings could be significant as around 25 per cent of all middle-aged women in America are taking an antidepressant, and probably an SSRI, when exercise and counselling are as effective and safer.

(Source: Psychosomatic Medicine, April 2015; doi: 10.1097/PSY.0000000000000163)


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