Pills to bust blues raise heart attack risk

The latest study by Mark Hamer of the University College, London shows that people on older drugs, tricyclic antidepressants, are at far higher risk of cardiovascular disease than those taking the newer class of pills, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

But those relying on SSRIs should not be cheered by the findings. Tricyclics were discovered in the 1940s and it is only now that their dangerous effects have been identified, reports the Daily Mail.

Moreover, some SSRI drugs are known to cause serious problems such as stomach bleeding. Besides, severe withdrawal symptoms can force dependency on them, according to a University College statement.

Hamer says his findings do not only affect people with depression, because anti-depressants are also prescribed to people with back pain, headache, anxiety and sleeping problems.

Last year, according to Hamer’s ­figures, about 33 million anti-depressant prescriptions were dispensed in England alone.

A US study of 8,000 people who had been treated for depression found that a quarter of them were not clinically sick, but had just undergone a normal life event such as bereavement.

Their symptoms, it said, should be left to pass naturally. One leading expert, Randolph Nesse, psychiatry professor at the Michigan University, argues that this mild form of depression is beneficial, often interjecting in life to tell us to stop what we are doing and reconsider.

This can help, he says, when something awful happens to us, such as a job loss or relationship break-up, when it makes sense to slow down to grieve, reassess and make changes.

Comments (+)