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Antidepressants Linked to Fracture Risk in Elderly

Among those over 50, daily use doubles risk of fragility fracture

MONDAY, Jan. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Older adults who take a daily dose of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are twice as prone to clinical fragility fractures as their counterparts not taking an antidepressant, according to the results of a study published in the Jan. 22 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

J. Brent Richards, M.D., of McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and colleagues conducted a study of 5,008 adults aged 50 and older who were followed up for five years to ascertain the incidence of clinical fragility fractures.

Of the sample, 137 subjects reported daily use of SSRIs, and when other potential covariates were taken into account, use of the drug more than doubled the risk of fracture and the odds of falling. Other dose-dependent associations included spine and lower hip bone mineral density.

"Our results suggest that bone mineral density and falls may be affected adversely by daily SSRI use but that fracture rates remain elevated despite adjustment for these two risk factors, indicating that other pathways, such as impaired bone quality leading to reduced bone strength, may be of particular relevance," the authors conclude. "In light of the high rate of SSRI use among the general population, and among elderly persons in particular, further studies that include controlled prospective trials are needed to confirm our findings."

Several drug companies contributed to the funding of this study.

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