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Commonly prescribed antidepressants may cause bone loss in postmenopausal women, study finds


(NaturalNews) A class of antidepressants that increase levels of norepinephrine and serotonin in the brain, have been linked to accelerated bone loss in postmenopausal women, according to a study completed by researchers at the University of Eastern Finland and the Kuopo Musculoskeletal Research Unit at the Clinical Research Center in Finland.

Tricyclic antidepressants could very well increase the risk of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women, scientists report, adding that they also identified a link between serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and accelerated bone loss. Researchers say other antidepressants may have similar effects.

In addition to increasing levels of norepinephrine (a stress hormone released by the sympathetic nervous system) and serotonin, tricyclic antidepressants block acetylcholine, another neurotransmitter.

Scientists warn that women with increased risk for osteoporosis should avoid long-term antidepressant use

The drugs, which also caused sedation, are used for treating various types of depression, as well as bulimia, chronic pain, panic disorder and premenstrual symptoms.

"A relationship between [tricyclic antidepressants] and other antidepressant use with bone loss may also exist. Thus, the risk for osteoporosis should be considered when antidepressants are prescribed for postmenopausal women," said Paivi H. Rauma, MPharm, PharmD, a bone health expert who authored the study.

The research was contrived through a longitudinal study, meaning scientists repeatedly gathered data from the same subjects over a certain time period, which in this case was five years.

Dr. Rauma and her colleagues analyzed data from nearly 2,000 women aged 57–67. The participants filled out questionnaires regarding various lifestyle habits, including dietary calcium intake, smoking, alcohol consumption, and the age at which they entered menopause.

Women also underwent bone mineral density measurements, as well as submitting height, weight and "grip strength measurements." Researchers gathered data on participant's antidepressant use from the National Prescription Register.

Additionally, scientists "used multiple regression analysis to test associations for anthropometric, medical, physical and lifestyle factors."

Over the 5-year period, researchers observed that 16 percent of women purchased antidepressants, 5.9 percent used only SSRIs, and 4.6 percent took only tricyclic antidepressants.

SSRIs also linked to accelerated bone loss in postmenopausal women

They found that women using tricyclic antidepressants had greater bone mineral density (BMD) loss than nonusers, as well as establishing a link between accelerated bone loss and the use of SSRIs.

"There also was a link between bone loss and the use of other antidepressants in a dose-response way among low-weight women and normal-weight women who lost weight during the study period. Use of combined antidepressants was not associated with bone loss; removing use of other antidepressants did not change results," according to Helio.com.

"Based on these results, the risk of osteoporosis should be taken into account when antidepressants are prescribed for postmenopausal women," Dr. Rauma told Endocrine Today.

"In women with already heightened risk for osteoporosis, long-term treatment of depression with high doses of TCAs and SSRIs should be monitored and interrupted if use is not required."







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