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SSRIs, Blood Thinner Combo Poses Risks

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Another study has revealed a link between adverse reactions and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants. This time, research has linked SSRIs, when taken with blood thinners, with increased bleeding risks.

Patients who have suffered a heart attack and are prescribed a combination of an anti-platelet medication—for instance, Plavix or aspirin—and an SSRI—such as Zoloft, Prozac, Paxil, and Lexapro—experience increased risks, versus patients only taking anti-clotting medications, said USNews. The study, conducted at Canada’s McGill University, appears in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Anti-platelet medications, such as Paxil, are typically prescribed to heart attack patients to reduce risks for repeat heart attack because the drugs prevent blood cells from forming clots, noted USNews. Anti-platelet medications are known for their increased risks for bleeding risks; these risks increase when other medications are taken in collaboration with these treatments, noted USNews.

Because heart attack patients may suffer from depression symptoms, they are often prescribed antidepressants, the McGill University researchers pointed out, said USNews.

The Canadian study reviewed over 27,000 heart attack patients who were at least 50 years of age and found that patients taking either Plavix or aspirin experienced similar bleeding risks; however, patients taking one of these medications and an SSRI experienced a 42%-increased bleeding risk, said USNews. Those patients taking an SSRI and who were on dual antiplatelet therapy (aspirin in conjunction with clopidogrel) suffered a 57%-increased risk of bleeding, noted USNews.

Bleeding is considered gastrointestinal bleeding, hemorrhagic stroke, or any other type of bleeding the led to a hospital stay or took place while receiving treatment in a hospital, noted USNews. “Ultimately, clinicians must weigh the benefits of SSRI therapy against the risk of bleeding in patients with major depression following acute myocardial infarction,” the researchers said, reported USNews.

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