Features March 2010 Issue

Know The Risks And Benefits Of Antidepressant Use

Recent research has raised concerns about their effect on cardiac risks.

Depression can break your heart—literally. There’s evidence that a history of major depression can increase the risk of heart disease over and above any genetic risks that are common to both conditions, and that recurrence of cardiovascular events may be related to depression as well as to other risk factors such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes. "Recurrent or severe depression is a good candidate for maintenance treatment that may help protect the heart," says Leo Pozuelo, MD, associate director of the Bakken Heart-Brain Institute at Cleveland Clinic. The obvious solution might seem to be antidepressants—but recent studies have found that antidepressant medications may pose risks among men and women with heart disease or risk factors for heart disease.

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