A large study of nearly 3000 elderly women (average age of 78.5 years) has indicated that antidepressant medications can affect bone health. The researchers at the University of Minnesota looked at the bone density measurements of women taking two types of widely prescribed antidepressants for over four years: serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) and tricyclic antidepressants.
The results showed that bone density at the hip was affected by SSRIs but not by tricyclic antidepressants. A related study from McGill University found that daily use of serotonin reuptake inhibitors led to a significant increase in risk of falling and in fractures in older patients (50 + years).
The authors conclude that “Depression and fragility fractures are common in this age group, and the elevated risk attributed to daily SSRI use may have important public health consequences.”
Diem, SJ, et al, 2007. “Use of antidepressants and rates of hip bone loss in older women: the study of osteoporotic fractures” Arch Intern Med. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?Db=PubMed&Cmd=ShowDetailView&TermToSearch=17592096&ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVAbstractPlus
Richards, JB et al, 2007. “Effect of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors on the risk of fracture,” Arch Intern Med.
Diem, SJ, et al, 2007. “Depressive symptoms and rates of bone loss at the hip in older women,” J Am Geriatr Soc.