Citing a study set to be presented at the American College of Cardiology meeting in New Orleans on April 5, Science Daily reports that “antidepressant use has been linked to thicker arteries, possibly contributing to the risk of heart disease and stroke.” The article references first author, Amit Shah, MD (a cardiology fellow at Emory University School of Medicine) who explains that although depression can heighten the risk for heart disease, “the effect of antidepressant use revealed by the study is separate and independent from depression itself.”
The article continues:
“Antidepressants’ effects on blood vessels may come from changes in serotonin, a chemical that helps some brain cells communicate but also functions outside the brain, Shah says. The most commonly prescribed antidepressants are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as fluoxetine (Prozac), which increase the level of serotonin in the brain. […] Most of the serotonin in the body is found outside the brain, especially in the intestines, Shah notes. In addition, serotonin is stored by platelets, the cells that promote blood clotting, and is released when they bind to a clot. However, serotonin’s effects on blood vessels are complex and act in multiple ways. It can either constrict or relax blood vessels, depending on whether the vessels are damaged or not.”
To read the full article on Science Daily, click here.
Emory University (2011, April 2). Antidepressants linked to thicker arteries. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 3, 2011.