SSRIs Linked to Post-Op Bleeding Adverse Events, New Study Shows

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New York, NY: Antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), may increase risk of bleeding and the need for blood transfusions following operations, according a study done by researchers from the University of California, San Francisco.

SSIRs are the most popular class of antidepressant on the market, and are prescribed to adults including pregnant women. While studies in these adult populations have indicated a possible association with suicidal ideation and birth defects, this latest study indicates a potential link between SSRIs, which include fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), and paroxetine (Paxil), and an elevated risk of bleeding and irregular heart beats in patients who were hospitalized for surgery.

Published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, the study evaluated SSRI use before surgery and the rate of adverse events in a group of 530,416 patients over age 18 who had operations between January 2006 through December 2008 at 375 different US hospitals. The researchers found that those patients taking SSRIs prior to their operations had an increased risk for bleeding, were more likely to be re-admitted within a month following their procedures, or were more likely to die during the study period than those who were not taking the antidepressants.

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