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Menopausal Women On Antidepressants May Have Increased Risk Of A Stroke

As HRT use is declining, more women are being prescribed antidepressants at menopause but could there be a hidden risk?


A study by researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, sounded a warning for menopausal women who are subject to depression.

Depression is already a known risk factor for cardiovascular disease but it seems that taking antidepressants may significantly increase the risk of stroke for women who are postmenopausal.  The study is based on data from the Women’s Health Initiative which was responsible for proving that hormone replacement therapy significantly increased the risk of heart attack, stroke, cancer and death in postmenopausal women.

The increased risk

This study took place over six years and involved over 136,000 women between the ages of 50 and 79. The study found that those taking antidepressants were 45 percent more likely to suffer from a stroke during that period than women not taking the drugs, and 32 percent more likely to die from any cause.

The risk of stroke for a postmenopausal woman taking an antidepressant was roughly one in 200 in each given year and the increased stroke risk from antidepressants remained the same regardless of which drug class women were taking – whether selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or tricyclics.  However SSRIs appeared to pose a higher risk for a hemorrhagic stroke caused by brain bleeding.

How to reduce your risk

Because menopause is linked to risk factors such as being overweight and high blood pressure, it makes sense to tackle some simple self-hep measures.

Lifestyle changes include losing weight if you need to, reducing your blood pressure, giving up smoking, reducing alcohol intake, improving your diet and getting plenty of exercise.

Perhaps the most significant thing you can do is to deal with oestrogen dominance, which is linked to heart disease, by rebalancing hormones to make sure your oestrogen levels are supported by sufficient bioidentical natural progesterone.

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The views and opinions expressed on this blog are those of AnnA Rushton and do not necessarily represent the views of or Wellsprings Ltd