Antidepressants linked to increased risk of stroke, but risk is low

October 17, 2012

Research shows that use of popular antidepressants is linked to an increased risk of some strokes caused by bleeding in the brain, but that the risk is low, according to a multi-study analysis published in the October 17, 2012, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

For the research, scientists analyzed all of the studies that have looked at antidepressant use and stroke, which included 16 studies with more than 500,000 total participants. They found that people taking (SSRIs), which are the most commonly used antidepressants, were 50 percent more likely to have an intracranial hemorrhage than those not taking the antidepressants and about 40 percent more likely to have an intracerebral hemorrhage.

But study author Daniel G. Hackam, MD, PhD, FRCPC, of Western University in London, Ontario, said the findings should be viewed with caution. "Because these types of strokes are very rare, the actual for the average person is very low," he said.

An estimated 24.6 of these strokes occur per 100,000 people per year. According to the research, the use of SSRIs would increase the risk by one additional stroke per 10,000 people per year.

"Overall, these results should not deter anyone from taking an SSRI when it is needed," Hackam said. "In general these drugs are safe, and obviously there are risks to having depression go untreated. But doctors might consider other types of antidepressants for people who already have for these types of strokes, such as those taking , people who have had similar strokes already or those with severe ."

Explore further: Exposure to certain antidepressants in pregnancy may modestly increase risk of autism spectrum disorders

Related Stories

Newer antidepressants not necessarily safest for older people

August 3, 2011

New generation antidepressants, known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are associated with an increased risk of several severe adverse outcomes in older people compared with older tricyclic antidepressants ...

Recommended for you

New insights on how cocaine changes the brain

November 25, 2015

The burst of energy and hyperactivity that comes with a cocaine high is a rather accurate reflection of what's going on in the brain of its users, finds a study published November 25 in Cell Reports. Through experiments conducted ...

Can physical exercise enhance long-term memory?

November 25, 2015

Exercise can enhance the development of new brain cells in the adult brain, a process called adult neurogenesis. These newborn brain cells play an important role in learning and memory. A new study has determined that mice ...

Brain connections predict how well you can pay attention

November 24, 2015

During a 1959 television appearance, Jack Kerouac was asked how long it took him to write his novel On The Road. His response – three weeks – amazed the interviewer and ignited an enduring myth that the book was composed ...

Umbilical cells help eye's neurons connect

November 24, 2015

Cells isolated from human umbilical cord tissue have been shown to produce molecules that help retinal neurons from the eyes of rats grow, connect and survive, according to Duke University researchers working with Janssen ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.