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Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Bloomberg News (4/3, Cortez) reported, "Antidepressants may narrow the arteries of middle-aged men, potentially putting them at risk for heart attacks and stroke," according to a study presented at the American College of Cardiology meeting in New Orleans. In "a study involving 513 male twins, with an average age of 55, found those who took medications like Forest Laboratories Inc.'s Lexapro [escitalopram], Eli Lilly & Co.'s....Cymbalta [duloxetine], or Pfizer Inc.'s Zoloft (sertraline) had thicker blood vessel walls." What's more, "the increase, a measure of fatty-plaque buildup linked to atherosclerosis, was seen regardless of what type of antidepressant the men were taking."

The Los Angeles Times (4/2, Maugh) reported, "Overall, when the researchers adjusted for age, diabetes, blood pressure and other factors, they found that the intima-media thickness of men taking antidepressants was 37 microns (about 5%) thicker than that of men not taking the" medications. "When the team looked at 59 twin pairs in which one twin was taking the drugs and the second was not, the artery was 41 microns thicker in the twin taking" antidepressants.

HealthDay (4/2, Reinberg) reported, "Since each additional year of life is associated with a small increase in intima-media thickness, a brother taking antidepressants is physically four years older than the brother not taking antidepressants," the researchers "contended. They also said that even a small increase in intima-media thickness can increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke by 1.8 percent." Also covering the story were AFP (4/3), HeartWire (4/2, O'Riordan), Reuters (4/3, Berkrot, Pierson), and MedPage Today (4/3, Phend).

Posted by Steven Almany M.D.

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