(NaturalNews) Falls are the leading cause of accidental death in the elderly population of adults over 65 years of age. A recent study found that elderly people who suffer from dementia are more likely to suffer falls if they are given anti-depressants.
Selective serotonin uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are frequently prescribed to dementia patients, who often also experience depression. The British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology reported that the risk of elderly injuring themselves from falls was TRIPLED after they were given SSRIs. This class of drugs includes the popular depression drugs Prozac and Paxil, which have long been considered first-line therapy for treatment of depression in older adults.
The high risk of falls following treatment with older anti-depressant medications is well established, as these drugs have long been shown to cause unpleasant and dangerous side effects in elderly such as dizziness and unsteadiness.
Although the medical industry and Big Pharma made claims that the newer SSRI-type anti-depressant drugs would likely reduce these dangerous consequences, the latest research from the Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam appears to show the reverse.
The clear link between popular anti-depressants and increased risk for falls in elderly
The study recorded the daily anti-depressant drug use and records of falls in 248 nursing home residents over a two-year period of time. The average age of the residents was 82 and the records suggested that 152 of them had suffered a total of 683 falls.
The consequences of these falls were relatively high, with 220 falls resulting in injuries such as hip fractures and other broken bones. One resident died following a fall. The risk of having an injury-causing fall was three times higher in residents taking commonly prescribed SSRIs compared with those not taking the drug, and this risk rose even further if the patient was given sedative drugs as well.
Dr. Carolyn Sterke, the doctor who recorded the study, said that physicians should be cautious in prescribing SSRIs to older people with dementia even at low doses. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that many doctors will heed such a warning. It is a lot more likely that the medical industry will continue pushing these anti-depressants on elderly patients despite the fact that these drugs are doing elderly patients much more harm than good.
Anti-depressants have a history of making things worse
Up to one in 10 elderly primary care patients in the United States suffers from depression. This means that thousands of Americans are being affected by these potentially harmful anti-depressants and are at increased risk for falls that lead to injuries and deaths.
This is not the first time that conclusive research has revealed the danger of anti-depressant usage in the senior population. A study done in 2007 which appeared in the Archives of Internal Medicine showed that elderly patients taking SSRIs were likely doubling their risk of fractures from falls.
When the 2007 study first came out, a geriatrician and associate professor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center admitted that there has not been very much research done on the effect of many drugs on bone formation, which is also true of SSRIs.
In general, SSRI anti-depressants are also known to cause long-term side effects. These include but aren't limited to sexual dysfunction, sleep disturbances, epilepsy or epileptic seizures, tardive dyskinesia/dystonia (a mostly permanent severe body movement disorder), Parkinsonism (a sign of future Parkinson's disease) and Akathisia (a neurologically driven severe manic agitation that can lead to suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts, self-harm & suicide). It is well documented in medical literature that these neuroleptic induced side-effects can be attributed to various forms of brain damage. (http://www.antidepressantsfacts.com/LongTermSSRI.htm)
The side-effects of popular anti-depressants can take many forms because these drugs can cause some very severe neurological and physical damage, often either as a result of prolonged inhibition of liver-enzymes or impaired serotonin metabolism.
Alternative treatment for depression doesn't cause deadly falls or negative side effects
Elderly patients suffering from depression shouldn't have to choose between their mental health and their hips and other bones. There are much safer ways to treat depression that are in no way associated with increased risk of falls or fractures.
There are a great many natural alternatives to SSRIs and other dangerous prescription drugs that have been proven to be effective in managing depression. To name only a few examples: counseling, supportive care, regular exercise, sunshine exposure, music therapy, diet changes and mood-boosting herbs such as St. John's Wort.
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