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Use of SSRI, other Antidepressants Should be Rethought, Study says

Filed April 27th, 2012 Laurie

A new Canadian research paper seems to suggest that many popular and commonly described antidepressants may harm patients more than they help them.

“We need to be much more cautious about the widespread use of these drugs,” says Dr. Paul Andrews, an evolutionary biologist at McMaster University and lead author of the article.

Andrews and his team of researchers reviewed previous patient studies into the effects of antidepressants and found that the benefits of the drugs did not seem to outweigh the risks, which include early death in elderly patients.
Most modern antidepressants belong to a class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) that increase serotonin levels in the brain and regulate mood. However, most of the serotonin in the body is used for other purposes, including digestion, forming blood clots at wound sites, reproduction and development.

The current study found that antidepressants have negative health effects on the following processes normally regulated by serotonin:

  • • developmental problems in infants;
  • • problems with sexual stimulation and function and sperm development in adults;
  • • digestive problems such as diarrhea, constipation, indigestion and bloating;
  • • abnormal bleeding and stroke in the elderly.

Said Andrews, “It could change the way we think about such major pharmaceutical drugs,” he says. “You’ve got a minimal benefit, a laundry list of negative effects – some small, some rare and some not so rare.”

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