Risk of bleeding in brain could be increased in patients taking Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRIs), a common class of antidepressants according to the latest research published in the journal of Neurology. Different types of drugs present in this class (SSRIs) include fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), citalopram (Celexa) and paroxetine (Paxil).
This study was conducted on 500,000 patients taking either SSRIs or not. Researchers found that those patients who are taking SSRIs are 40 to 50 times more at risk of suffering from bleeding in or around the brain.
But the risk of bleeding associated with SSRIs could be “extremely low,” as said by lead researcher Daniel Hackam, an associate professor of medicine at Western University in London, Ontario, Canada.
According to the data there would be one case out of 10,000 people who are using SSRIs over one year. It has not yet been proved that SSRIs can directly cause damage to brain. It’s possible, Hackham said, that SSRI users are “sicker” than non-users or have habits that put them at greater stroke risk.
“We can’t infer cause and effect from this,” Hackam said.
This study has also suggested that risk of bleeding more during the first week of using SSRIs.
“There’s also a biological argument. SSRIs seem to make it harder for blood cells called platelets to clump together and form clots – and there can be a big drop in a person’s platelet functions in the first weeks after starting an SSRI, he said.”
He further said that there is no need to warn patients taking SSRIS. “I think that overall, these medications are quite safe,” he added.
But those patients who are at risk of brain hemorrhage should take precautions.