Past studies have linked depression to osteoporosis, but according to the Harvard Women's Health Watch, scientists are questioning whether antidepressant medications could also be a contributing factor.
A new study has found that subjects (aged 50 and over) who took popular antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) had double the rate of fractures as people not using such medications.
Past research had pointed to depression itself as a source of endocrine changes that can damage bone. Studying women who didn't have osteoporosis symptoms, scientists found lower bone mineral density in those who were depressed. Worryingly, the link was found in both younger women and women past menopause.
Other studies have found a similar relationship, prompting investigators to look at hormones and brain chemicals potentially involved in both depression and bone loss. Researchers working with an animal model found that depression triggers the release of noradrenaline, which interferes with bone-building cells.
Because the link between SSRIs and bone density is still not confirmed, the researchers suggest that women should continue taking antidepressants if they are already using them, and make sure they get regular bone density tests.
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Source: Harvard Women's Health Watch