Anti-Depressants and Stroke

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Story Updated: Oct 19, 2012

It's a case of good news/bad news in the latest stroke study.

Research just published in the journal Neurology finds an increased risk of rare strokes caused by bleeding in the brain...in people who take popular antidepressants known as SSRI's.

Canadian scientists analyzed 16 studies that included more than 500-thousand participants.

All-in-all, the data showed that people taking SSRI's, were about 50 percent more likely to have an intra-cranial hemorrhage than those not taking the antidepressants. Those at risk were also more likely to have an intra-cerebral hemorrhage.

But according to the researchers...the actual increased risk for the average person is very low. An estimated 24.6 strokes of this kind occur per 100,000 people per year.

The take home? SSRI's are generally considered safe and effective, unless you have other risk factors for this type of rare stroke. People in this category are those who take blood thinners, are heavy drinkers or already had a similar stroke.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV, with the latest breakthroughs from the world of medicine.

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Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, a nonprofit independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association, is part of a family of companies that finances and delivers vital health care services to 1.8 million people across upstate New York. Excellus BlueCross BlueShield provides access to high-quality, affordable health coverage, including valuable health-related resources that our members use every day, such as cost-saving prescription drug discounts and wellness tracking tools in our Step Up program. To learn more, visit www.excellusbcbs.com