A better mood may put you at risk for poor health. New research links popular antidepressant medications to an increased risk for cardiovascular disease.
Antidepressants increase levels of certain brain chemicals such as serotonin that produce a feel-good effect. But they may also cause a thickening of the inner linings of the arteries in the neck, which can increase the likelihood of a heart attack or stroke.
In a groundbreaking study of more than 500 middle-aged male twins, researchers found that those who took antidepressants of any kind were more likely to have thicker blood vessel walls and narrowed arteries. As a result, they were more at risk for hypertension, atherosclerosis, and heart disease. The study was funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
Although the effects of depression can be disabling, the association between antidepressants and cardiovascular risk is significant. The benefits and risks should be assessed on a patient-by-patient basis to avoid causing patients further harm