Scientists have declared anti-depressants dangerous for women going through menopause. Women take the help of anti-depressants to endure the stress of menopause, but now scientists have said that anti depressants increase the risk of broken bones by 76%.
Doctors are being urged to reduce the period for which they prescribe the pills, as the risk continues to last for several years after the women have taken the drugs.
Menopause means the onset of Irregular periods, Vaginal dryness, Hot flashes, Night sweats, Sleep problems, Mood changes, Weight gain and slowed metabolism, Thinning hair and dry skin and Loss of breast fullness.
In order to endure the pain of having to go through all of this, doctors prescribe a type of anti-depressant called SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) the most common one being Prozac.
But now a new research has suggested that a side effect of taking these pills may be the weakening of bones.
SSRIs are among the most commonly prescribed drugs in Britain. Some 30 million prescriptions for them were given out in England last year, at a cost of £74 million (NZ$170 million).
It is not known how many are giving to menopausal females, but it is widely believed that doctors prefer giving anti-depressants rather than hormone replacement therapy, fearing the risk of heart problems.
But new NHS guidelines are expected to notify doctors to stop excluding certain women from access to HRT.
Researchers from Northeastern University in Boston analysed data from 370,000 American menopausal women over 12 years. Of these, 137,000 took SSRIs, including fluoxetine, which is known as Prozac, as well as hydrobromide, oxalate, fluvoxamine, paroxetine and sertraline.
This group was then compared to another group, consisting of 236,000 women, who were prescribed indigestion pills over the same period of time.
Among those who took the SSRIs, the rate of fractures was 76 per cent higher one year after starting treatment, 73 per cent higher after two years and 67 per cent higher after five years.
However, the researchers admitted that there study was purely based on statistics, so they could draw no definitive conclusions about cause and effect. But previous research has suggested that anti-depressants may alter the way bones grow, making them thinner and weaker.
The authors, led by injury prevention expert Professor Matthew Miller, wrote in Injury Prevention, part of the British Medical Journal group: “SSRIs appear to increase fracture risk among middle-aged women without psychiatric disorders, an effect sustained over time, suggesting that shorter duration of treatment may decrease this.
Further studies will clarify whether this association between anti-depressants and weaker bones persists at lower doses of the drug.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence is expected to publish guidelines later this year telling NHS doctors to stop denying HRT to menopausal women who have high blood pressure.