Sunday, August 29, 2010

Antidepressant Medications and Osteoporosis

An article in the Archives of Medicine (Vol. 167 No. 2. Jan. 22, 2007) found that daily use of the most common antidepressants--SSRI's such as Prozac®, Zoloft®, Welbutron®-- were found result in a 2005 increase risk of bone fractures. This study examined a group of patients who were 50 years of age and older and they were studied for five years. This is the age group most commonly at risk for osteoporosis.

Why would the use of antidepressants result in an increased risk of osteoporosis? In this study, daily SSRI use was found to be associated with a significantly increased risk of falling (2,100% increased) and a lowered bone mineral density of the hip and the spine. All of these effects were dose dependant, meaning the longer you took the medications, the more problems you may have with them.

It is well known that SSRI’s can cause an increased risk of falls, which do increase the risk of fractures. Although the exact mechanism associated with a decreased bone mineral density in those that took SSRI’s is not clearly defined, this is one more study showing the adverse effects of taking a drug that poisons a crucial enzyme in the body.

As I wrote in Drugs That Don’t Work and Natuaral Therapies That Do, 2nd Edition, the long- term use of a medication that poisons a crucial enzyme or blocks an important receptor is a recipe for future health problems. SSRI’s should be the last choice in treating depression. There are many safer and more effective strategies to managing depression than relying solely on SSRI’s, such as diet and exercise. In fact, there are many studies showing exercise has a better anti-depressant effect compared to SSRI drugs.

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