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Antidepressants May Increase Risk of Brain Bleeds By 50%

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A year of antidepressants may cause about 1 in 10,000 people to have a brain bleed. That’s not a huge number, but it’s 50% more likely than not being on antidepressants.

Traditionally, many psychological medications aren’t thought to have physical effects of this sort and are generally accepted as safe in that regard. But, with more and more people taking them every year, a growing body of data is helping us pinpoint new risks to common medication like antidepressants.

The new research only shows a correlation, it does not prove causation between the risk of a brain bleed and antidepressants, but researchers made their best effort to eliminate lifestyle and other health factors where they could. It’s also known that the body’s ability to make blood clots drops in the months after starting an antidepressant. Chances are good that further research will prove the causation, though the amount of risk (40-50% more than non-antidepressant users) may decrease.

Of course, if you take antidepressants, this isn’t a reason to stop. The risk is still very low. You may want to explore more natural alternatives, but if you find something that works for you, stick with it. Even natural remedies for depression can have side-effects: St. John’s wort, for example, can interfere with many medications. If you have an existing reasons to be concerned about brain bleeds (like family history or a blood clotting disorder), talk to your doctor about alternative treatments.

What do you think about the potential risks of antidepressants?

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