Stanford Study of
Antidepressants and Heart Risk
July 5th 2005
PINON HILLS, CA - It
may benefit patients with depression who have suffered a heart attack to
take antidepressant medication. This is according to a study at the
Stanford University Medical Center. The use of antidepressants may
reduce the threat of another heart attack.
The study is being published in the
July issue of Archives of General Psychiatry. The lead author
C. Barr Taylor, MD said “Our study provides much stronger evidence than
we’ve ever had before that antidepressants are safe and may benefit
these patients.” Dr. Taylor is professor of psychiatry and behavioral
sciences at Stanford. The study was conducted by the National Heart,
Lung and Blood Institute.
During the study researchers used
several antidepressants. The median duration of antidepressant use was
12 months for both groups. Participants were more likely to take
selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as Zoloft, instead
of tricyclics or other types.
After analyzing the data, the researchers found that
26 percent of study participants who hadn’t received antidepressants
died or had a recurrent heart attack, while 21 percent of those
participants who had taken antidepressants at some point died or had a
recurrent event. After adjusting for baseline depression and cardiac
risk, SSRI use was associated with 43 percent lower risk of death or
recurrent non-fatal heart attack , and 43 percent lower risk of death
from all causes.
Researchers launched the ENRICHD (ENhancing Recovery
In Coronary Heart Disease) initially to determine if cognitive
behavioral therapy could help heart attack patients. The results were
promising, so the study was extended to research the benefits of
Robert F. DeBusk, MD, professor of medicine, served as
principal investigator at the Stanford site. The authors noted that the
results of the study show a need for a prospective, randomized trial on
the safety and benefit of antidepressants in this population.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death
in the United States. Some of the main predictors for heart disease and
stroke (also known collectively as cardiovascular disease) are thick
waists, cigarette smoking in women, high systolic blood pressure (upper
number) and blood sugar levels in men.
Many experts recommend an aspirin a day, exercise, and
healthy eating. Ideally, according to medformation.com individuals
should exercise at least 3 times a week for 30 to 60 minutes
aerobically. Of course you should consult your doctor before beginning
an exercise regimen.
Best Syndication Staff Writer
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