Entries in antidepressants (5)


Workplace Bullying Common, Could Lead to Medication Use

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- If you’ve ever felt bullied at work, you’re not alone. A new study suggests workplace bullying is common, and so is the need for medical intervention.

The survey-based study of more than 6,000 Finns found that one in eight men and one in five women reported being bullied at work. And self-reported bullying victims were more likely to use of antidepressants, sleeping pills and sedatives.

“A potentially unexpected finding is that the results were somewhat stronger for men than women,” study author Dr. Tea Lalluka of the University of Hilsinki said, explaining that bullied men were slightly more likely to use medications than bullied women.

The study was published Thursday in the journal BMJ.

Even witnessing bullying can have health effects, according to the study. Men and women who observed workplace bullying were one and a half to two times as likely to need similar medications, reflecting true, medically confirmed mental problems.

“We’ve all seen it go on,” said Dr. Nadine Kaslow, vice chair of psychiatry at Emory University in Atlanta, who was not involved with the study. “It’s that bystander effect; nobody wants to do anything about it.”

The study was unable to examine the length or intensity of bullying among surveyed employees. But experts say preventing workplace bullying might help prevent serious mental health problems.

“There are employee assistance programs and wellness programs available to people,” Kaslow said. “I would encourage people to take advantage of those. Get support — social support, self care, exercise, eat well — whatever it is, make connections with people at work.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Antidepressants Linked to Hypertension in Babies

Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Pregnant women who take certain anti-depressants can significantly increase their chance of having babies that develop a condition known as pulmonary hypertension, according to a study published Thursday in the British Medical Journal.

An estimated one in every 1,000 babies born develop pulmonary hypertension, characterized by high blood pressure in the lung arteries, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The condition occurs when newborn babies are not able to adapt to breathing on their own, which can potentially lead to organ failure and brain damage.  On average, 11 percent of newborns diagnosed with this condition will die from it, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The study suggests that women who took one of the most prescribed class of anti-depressant medications known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) during pregnancy were twice as likely to have their baby develop pulmonary hypertension compared with mothers who didn't take SSRIs.

But many experts said the risk is still low.

"You're doubling the risk of extremely low risk to again, an extremely low risk," said Dr. Marjorie Greenfield, division director of obstetrics and gynecology at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland.  SSRIs, more commonly known by their brand names such as Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa and Lexapro, are taken by 1.5 percent of pregnant women in the U.S.

The study reviewed six million births that took place from 1996 to 2007 in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

Study researchers said they took into consideration the mothers' health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, or behaviors such as smoking, or the way the baby was delivered.  These factors have previously been associated to a baby's development of pulmonary hypertension.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Survey: 1 in 10 Americans Use Antidepressants

Hemera/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- According to new survey data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 10 Americans older than 12 are now taking antidepressants -- a fourfold increase in the prevalence of antidepressant use since the late 1980s.

While antidepressant use is on the rise, it's not always mental health professionals that are writing the prescription: less than one third of patients on antidepressants reported seeing a mental health professional within the past year.

The report, published Wednesday, draws on a survey of over 12,000 Americans over the age of 12. Twenty-three percent of all women ages 40 to 59 reported taking antidepressants.

While the idea of primary doctors handing out antidepressants without a therapist's consultation may seem alarming, many psychiatrists felt that screening for and treating depression in your doctor's office was a necessary expansion of a PCP's duties.

"The reality is that there are not enough mental health care providers around to treat all who need it," says Dr. Gary Small, a psychiatrist and director of the UCLA Center on Aging. "Part of what we do as psychiatrists is teach doctors how to diagnose and treat depression so that a lot of depression can be handled in primary care."

"It's a required part of training in our specialty [to treat depression]," says Dr. Lee Green, professor of family medicine at the University of Michigan. "We refer patients with the most complex or treatment-resistant depression to psychiatrists for medication management, but that is only a minority of people with depression. Most patients can, and should, get their antidepressant prescription from their family doctor," he says.

This doesn't mean that seeing a mental health care worker isn't necessary as well, however, Green says: "The concern I have with the low number of people seeing mental health professionals is that they're not getting the psychotherapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, that we know helps with depression. Personally, I don't believe anyone should be treated with medication alone for depression."

Dr. Sudeepta Varma, a psychiatrist at NYU Langone Medical Center and member of the American Psychiatric Association's Public Affairs Committee for New York County, was also worried that patients might not be getting treated "optimally" with the best dosage of their meds if they never see a psychiatrist.

"People often come in to me having been prescribed antidepressants from their doctor and they're on the lowest dose, wondering why it isn't working for them," she says. "Primary doctors should really work in consultation with a psychiatrist."

Overall, doctors and mental health care professionals weren't alarmed by the rising number of antidepressant prescriptions being written –- to the contrary, some questioned whether more patients should be on medication.

The survey captured how many patients are on antidepressants, not necessarily how many patients are being treated for depression with antidepressants. Because antidepressants are also prescribed for anxiety, neurological pain, fibromyalgia, sleep problems, and menopausal hot flashes, some of those reporting being on antidepressants may have been medicated for those reasons, not for depression, says Dr. John Messmer, associate professor of Family and Community Medicine at Penn State College of Medicine.

"I think it's a good thing that one in ten people in the U.S. are on antidepressants," says Dr. Varma at NYU. "It's really hard to convince people to be on medication -- it's not something that people do lightly. I think the fact that more people are on medication means that more people are becoming aware of the signs of depression and that there is less stigma about seeking help," she says.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Depression Raises Women's Stroke Risk

Creatas Images/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- Depression puts middle-aged and older women at significant risk of suffering potentially debilitating strokes, according to a study published Thursday. Depressed women who reported taking such popular antidepressants as Prozac, Zoloft and Celexa were "perhaps at even higher risk," the study's senior author said.

"There is something about being depressed that increases your risk of stroke," said Dr. Kathryn Rexrode, an internist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. However, she took pains to say that women taking antidepressants should not interpret the findings as a signal that "stopping SSRIs is going to make your risk of stroke go down. There is no data about that." (SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, are the most commonly prescribed antidepressants.)

"I don't think the medications themselves are the primary cause of the risk," Rexrode said. Instead, she suggested that women who medicate their depression might suffer from more severe symptoms than those who don't opt for the pills.

The bottom line, she said, was that regardless of the mechanism, doctors need to be made aware of the relationship between depression and strokes. "We ought to intensify efforts to reduce that risk through the usual risk factors for stroke, and we ought to test and research interventions we can to do help modify that risk."

Strokes constitute the nation's third-leading cause of death. Strokes that don't kill often leave sufferers with trouble speaking, thinking and with limited use of their limbs. As a result, strokes are a leading cause of permanent disability.

The findings, which appear in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association, were drawn from the landmark Nurses' Health Study, which began in 1976 and has followed more than 120,000 women for numerous health conditions. Researchers studying stroke risk followed 80,574 of them, predominantly white, female RNs, with an average age of 66, without any stroke history.

Study participants underwent periodic evaluations for depression, and were asked every couple of years if they'd taken antidepressants or had been diagnosed with depression by a doctor. At the beginning of the study, 22.3 percent of the women were depressed, meaning that they scored high for symptoms of depression, had taken antidepressants or had a formal diagnosis of depression.

During six years of follow-up, researchers documented 1,033 strokes. They calculated that depression increased a woman's risk of stroke by 29 percent, compared with women who never reported being depressed. Among depressed women taking any of the SSRIs, stroke risk was 39 percent higher than among women who never reported being depressed or taking antidepressants.

Rexrode said that depression might interfere with a woman's ability to control such risk factors as diabetes and hypertension through medication, or by making important lifestyle changes.

Rexrode and her co-authors could not explain the mechanism linking depression and strokes, but suggested that depression might increase inflammation, which is known to damage blood vessels in the heart and brain. Depression also can alter neurological functions and the body's response to stress, and may make blood more likely to clot.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Antidepressants Linked to Increased Risk of Autism

Creatas Images/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- It is estimated that about 1 in 110 children in United States have an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), however, despite decades of research, there are only a few known genetic risk factors for ASD which account for a minor portion of the risk for the disorder

A new study by Kaiser Permanente in Northern California has found a link between maternal antidepressants and the risk of autism.

The study saw researchers reviewing the medical records of over 1,600 children and their mothers in California; 298 of those children having been diagnosed with ASDs. The authors of the study evaluated whether there was an association between maternal use of SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) antidepressants and the occurrence of ASD.

According to the findings of the study published in Archives of General Psychiatry, researchers found that 3.3 percent of the mothers of healthy children took antidepressants in the year before delivery compared to 6.7 percent of the mothers of children with ASD. These findings have been interpreted as the maternal use of SSRI antidepressants in the year before delivery being associated with a two-fold increase in the risk of ASD in a child.

Study findings show that the association was even greater if the medications were taken during the first trimester, with almost a four-fold increase in risk.

Although these numbers may sound alarming, researchers say in the general population, the fraction of cases of ASD that may have resulted from the use of antidepressants by the mother during pregnancy is less than three percent. Authors of the study also say it is reasonable to conclude that prenatal SSRI exposure is “very unlikely” to be a major risk factor for ASD.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio