SSRI Antidepressants and Death
Written by Faith Anderson on May 27, 2012
Mortality Risk Linked to Antidepressants
Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston examined medical records from 10,568 patients who were placed in an ICU, and found that 1,876 had prescriptions for antidepressants. Not only did researchers note a mortality increase for patients taking an SSRI or SNRI, but it was far more serious in patients who had a heart problem or who had undergone heart surgery. In fact, patients with coronary problems who were taking antidepressants faced a two-fold increased risk compared to other ICU patients.
SSRI/SNRI Antidepressants and Side Effects
SSRI antidepressants are some of the most commonly prescribed medications in the United States, even though they are a relatively new class of drugs. SSRIs are used by millions of Americans to relieve depression and improve certain mood disorders, which they do by preventing certain nerve cells in the brain from reabsorbing the chemical serotonin. SNRIs function in much the same way, except they act on both serotonin and norepinephrine. Despite their possible depression-relieving benefits however, both SSRI and SNRI antidepressants have been linked to devastating side effects in patients.
Lawsuits for Antidepressant Birth Defects
Although SSRI and SNRI antidepressants have been found to cause fewer side effects than older antidepressants, previous research has shown that those who use the medications could also face an increased risk of suicide, and use during pregnancy has been linked to an increased risk of devastating birth defects in babies, like persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN) and heart defects. A growing number of Zoloft lawsuits have been filed against drug maker Pfizer, Inc., on behalf of families across the U.S. whose children were born with birth defects allegedly caused by use of the antidepressant during pregnancy. The Zoloft lawsuits claim that Pfizer failed to adequately warn consumers about the potential risk that Zoloft poses for unborn children.