Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Antidepressants Lower Heart Attack Risk: Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors Lessen Chances Of Heart Attacks In Smokers

Date:
October 18, 2001
Source:
University Of Pennsylvania Medical Center
Summary:
Drugs designed to fight depression may also prevent heart attacks, according to researchers at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center. In a large study of smokers, the researchers associated a class of antidepressants, called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), with a lower heart attack risk.

Philadelphia, PA – Drugs designed to fight depression may also prevent heart attacks, according to researchers at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center. In a large study of smokers, the researchers associated a class of antidepressants, called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), with a lower heart attack risk. Their findings are published in the latest issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Related Articles


“We found a 65 percent reduction in risk of a heart attack among SSRI users compared to nonusers,” said Stephen Kimmel, MD, associate professor of medicine in the Penn Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology and the Cardiovascular Division of the Penn Department of Medicine. “How it works is still unknown, but we have reason to believe that, like aspirin, SSRIs act to thin the blood and prevent clotting.”

In the study, Kimmel and his colleagues compared people in an eight-county region around the Philadelphia metropolitan area who were hospitalized for a first heart attack (653 people) with a randomly selected group of people who had no history of a prior heart attack (2,990 people). All patients in both groups were smokers.

Of the 143 SSRI users identified, 87 percent said they were taking the drugs for depression; 3.5 percent for anxiety and 9.1 percent for unknown or other indication. Patients were studied over a 28-month period and were between the ages of 30 and 65 years old. The SSRIs identified in this study included fluoxetine (Prozac), fluvoxamine (Luvox), paroxetine (Paxil) and sertraline (Zoloft).

“We actually collected this data for a study to test the value of nicotine patches in preventing heart attacks, since smoking is a high risk factor,” said Kimmel. “In doing so we also collected detailed information about the prescription drug use of participants in the study.”

The data Kimmel and his colleagues received allow them to also compare the risk of heart attacks in people who used antidepressants. In addition to smoking, studies have also suggested that depression may be a risk factor for heart disease and is linked to a higher probability of death after a heart attack. Earlier studies had suggested the association between antidepressants and lower heart attack risk. With the ready made pool of information, this study became the largest of its kind to examine whether SSRIs prescribed for depression lowered the risk of a first non-fatal heart attack.

The researchers were not, however, able to directly determine from the data how SSRIs may protect from heart attack. According to Kimmel, the study could not distinguish between whether the beneficial effects of treating depression reduced the risk of heart attack or if it was the SSRIs’ pharmacological effects. As devised, the study did not involve the use of validated depression scales, which are used to assess the severity of depression – and therefore were unable to reach a definitive conclusion.

Tentatively, Kimmel and his colleagues theorize that the drugs might protect the heart the same way aspirin does, by preventing platelets, the parts of the blood that form clots, from clumping together. The majority of heart attacks are caused by blood clots.

The researchers believe that a randomized controlled trial study of significant size would be necessary to make a definitive link between SSRIs and preventing heart attacks. They also suggest that other forms of antidepressant medications aside from SSRIs be taken into account to determine if they may have a similar effect. “However provocative, these are just preliminary findings,” said Kimmel. “We did not start out looking at this problem, exactly, but it does provide a springboard for further research – both statistically, such as ours, and in the laboratory.”

###

Penn researchers, William H. Sauer, MD, and Jesse A. Berlin ScD, were co-investigators in this project.

Funding for this study was provided by Aventis Pharmaceuticals, Novartis Consumer Health, and McNeil Consumer Products Co.

Editor’s Note: Neither Dr. Sauer, Dr. Berlin, nor Dr. Kimmel have any financial stake in Aventis Pharmaceuticals, Novartis Consumer Health, or McNeil Consumer Products Co.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System is distinguished not only by its historical significance – first hospital (1751), first medical school (1765), first university teaching hospital (1874), first fully integrated academic health system (1993) – but by its position as a major player on the world stage of medicine in the 21st century. Committed to a three-part mission of education, research, and clinical excellence, UPHS has excelled in all three areas. Penn ranked second among all American medical schools that received funds from the National Institutes of Health, perhaps the single most important barometer of research strength.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Pennsylvania Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Pennsylvania Medical Center. "Antidepressants Lower Heart Attack Risk: Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors Lessen Chances Of Heart Attacks In Smokers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 October 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/10/011018071909.htm>.
University Of Pennsylvania Medical Center. (2001, October 18). Antidepressants Lower Heart Attack Risk: Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors Lessen Chances Of Heart Attacks In Smokers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/10/011018071909.htm
University Of Pennsylvania Medical Center. "Antidepressants Lower Heart Attack Risk: Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors Lessen Chances Of Heart Attacks In Smokers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/10/011018071909.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Rural India's Low-Cost Sanitary Pad Revolution

Rural India's Low-Cost Sanitary Pad Revolution

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) — One man hopes his invention -– a machine that produces cheap sanitary pads –- will help empower Indian women. Duration: 01:51 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) — In Africa's only biosafety level 4 laboratory, scientists have been carrying out experiments on bats to understand how virus like Ebola are being transmitted, and how some of them resist to it. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO Says Male Ebola Survivors Should Abstain From Sex

WHO Says Male Ebola Survivors Should Abstain From Sex

Newsy (Nov. 28, 2014) — WHO cites four studies that say Ebola can still be detected in semen up to 82 days after the onset of symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins