A Canadian study looking at the effects of SSRIs has found a slightly increased risk of brain haemorrhage for people taking this common class of antidepressants. SSRIs include drugs such as fluoxetine, sertraline, citalopram and paroxetine.
Before reaching this conclusion, researchers examined the results of 16 previous studies involving more than 500,000 people and found that users of this type of antidepressant were 40 to 50 per cent more likely to suffer bleeding in or around the brain.
However, researchers stressed that while these percentages sound high, in reality, the risks to an individual are still “extremely low.” To put it in more reassuring terms, Dr. Daniel Hackman, associate professor of medicine at the University of Western Ontario, in London, Ontario, states that the increased risk translates into one brain bleed for every 10,000 people over the period of one year.
Researchers also emphasized that their analysis revealed a link, but not a “cause and effect” relationship between SSRIs and brain haemorrhage. Dr. Hackman cautions that alarm bells should not be set off, however, he also states that, “People who are already at increased risk of a brain haemorrhage may need to be careful.”
You can read the Reuters report online at www.reuters.com or the abstract, “Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors and brain haemorrhage” available on the Neurology Journal website.