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April 26, 2010

Heart Health may be improved by Antidepressants

U.S. researchers said that, a widely used type of antidepressant may help protect cardiovascular health by slowing the clumping of blood platelets, thus reducing the risk of hardening of the arteries & blood clots that can cause heart attack & stroke.
AntidepressantsThe new study compared 25 depressed patients taking a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) & 25 healthy people who weren't taking an antidepressant. Blood samples were taken at the start of the study & again four & eight weeks later.

At four weeks, the rate of platelet clumping was 95% in the healthy volunteers & 37% in the patients taking an SSRI. However, platelet clumping in the SSRI-treated patients was higher at eight weeks than at four weeks. This suggests that SSRIs 've the greatest effect on platelet clumping in the early stage of treatment, the study authors explained.
The study findings are scheduled to be presented Monday at the American Physiological Society conference, held April 24 to 28 in Anaheim, Calif. The researchers plan to analyze blood samples taken after 12 weeks & will also conduct a study using a different brand of SSRI.

"The reason we're doing this is to better the lives of depressed patients," study author Dr. Evangelos Litinas, a research associate at the Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Ill., said in a news release from the American Physiological Society.

"There is clear evidence that depressed patients 've a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, & we want to eliminate that. Since depression can be treated with an SSRI, maybe the cardiovascular disease risk can also be decreased. We want our patients to live longer & happier lives, without depression or the risk of heart problems," Litinas said.

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