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Antidepressants double risk of falls and fractures in Alzheimer’s patients

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The three most common types of antidepressants – the SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), mirtazapine and SNRIs (selective noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors) – all have the same risk, and almost double the chances of a fall and a fracture for Alzheimer’s patients who are living in a community care home.

Antidepressant use is very common among Alzheimer’s patients, say researchers from the University of Eastern Finland, because they are used to treat chronic pain, insomnia, anxiety and agitation – three typical symptoms of Alzheimer’s and dementia – as well as depression.

The researchers had assessed the impact of the drugs on 50,491 Alzheimer’s patients with an average age of 80, and compared to 100,982 people without the disease.

(Source: International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 2017; doi: 10.1002/gps.4667)

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