A new study has found that antidepressants such as Zoloft are associated with an increased the risk of death for patients admitted to intensive care units (ICUs). Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston have discovered a strong link between antidepressant use and more frequent deaths of ICU patients.
Presented in May at the American Thoracic Society International Conference in San Francisco, the study involved the examination of the medical records of 10,568 ICU patients to evaluate risk factors associated with death following intensive care unit admissions. Of the patients studied, 1,876 had prescriptions for an antidepressant. Researchers found that patients who took a seratonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant medication on admission to the ICU were 73% more likely to die within a year of being admitted than patients who did not take an antidepressant.
Researchers also found that patients with a pre-existing heart condition or who recently had heart surgery were far more likely to die within a year after their admission to an ICU. For patients who both had heart problems and took an antidepressant, the risk of death was much higher. The combination of these two factors increased the risk of death by about 200% compared to other ICU patients.
While the study does demonstrate a “clear association” between antidepressant use and increased mortality, it falls short of proving a definitive causal relationship. More research is needed to evaluate the potential side effects and dangers of SNRI and SSRI use, particularly in vulnerable individuals such as ICU patients and pregnant women. This study is only one small piece of an increasing body of research suggesting that serious side effects not previously publicized may be linked to the use of antidepressant medications.
Zoloft, Paxil, Prozac, Lexapro, and Celexa are all SSRI antidepressants. Known side effects of SSRIs include increased risk of suicide and birth defects when taken during pregnancy. Several studies have found a link between the use of SSRIs while pregnant and an increased risk of heart defects and other birth defects. Zoloft heart defects include atrial septal defects (ASD), ventricular septal defects (VSD), persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN), patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), tetralogy of fallot (TOF), hypoplastic left or right heart syndrome, transposition of the great arteries, and more. Other Zoloft birth defects include clubfoot, cleft lip and cleft palate, craniosynostosis (skull defect), spin bifida (neural tube defect), anal atresia, limb defects, and more. Lawsuits are being filed across the country by concerned parents of children born with birth defects after use of Zoloft or other SSRI antidepressant during pregnancy.
Despite SSRI antidepressant effects and risks, they remain on the market and are among the most prescribed medications in the U.S.. It is suggested that patients taking SSRI antidepressants, and those considering taking them, should use caution and talk with their doctor about all of their treatment options.
SSRI Antidepressant Birth Defect Lawsuits
If you or a loved one took an SSRI antidepressant during pregnancy and your child was born with a heart defect or other birth defect, you may be entitled financial compensation.
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