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Eastern Finland University sees use of antidepressant increases risk of head injuries Alzheimer’s patients

Our Bureau, Bengaluru
Friday, August 11, 2017, 15:40 Hrs  [IST]

University of Eastern Finland researchers have observed that use of antidepressants increases the risk of head injuries among persons with Alzheimer’s disease. Earlier findings had revealed that antidepressant use was linked with an increased risk of falls and hip fractures, but the risk of head injuries has not been studied before. The results were published in Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy.

The study constitutes part of the nationwide register-based MEDALZ study, which includes all community-dwelling persons diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in Finland during 2005-2011. The study included 10,910 antidepressant users and 21,820 nonusers, all of whom had Alzheimer’s disease.

The risk of antidepressant use especially during the first 30 days and but the hazards persisted even longer, up to two years. This was also confirmed in a study design comparing time periods within the same person, thus eliminating selective factors.

Head injuries are more common among older people than younger ones, and they are usually caused by falling. As antidepressant use has previously been associated with an increased risk of falling, the researchers were not surprised that the use of antidepressants also increased the risk of head injuries.

“However, our findings give cause for concern because persons with Alzheimer’s disease frequently use antidepressants, which have been considered a safer alternative to, for example, benzodiazepines,” stated Heidi Taipale, Senior Researcher, School of Pharmacy, University of Eastern Finland.

“Our study population consisted of persons diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, but it is likely that the risk is similar also in other older persons without Alzheimer’s disease. This is something we will be studying in the future”, she added.


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