Washington D.C. [USA], Aug 10 : A recent study has linked antidepressant use with an increased risk of head injuries and traumatic brain injuries among persons with Alzheimer's disease.
The University of Eastern Finland study associated antidepressant use with a higher risk of head injuries especially at the beginning of use, during the first 30 days, but the risk persisted even longer, up to two years.
The association was also confirmed in a study design comparing time periods within the same person, thus eliminating selective factors.
The association with traumatic brain injuries was not as clear as for head injuries, which may be due to a smaller number of these events in the study population.
The use of other psychotropic drugs did not explain the observed associations. Head injuries are more common among older people than younger ones and they are usually caused by falling.
As antidepressant use has previously been associated with an increased risk of falling, the researchers were not surprised that the use of antidepressants also increased the risk of head injuries.
"However, our findings give cause for concern because persons with Alzheimer's disease frequently use antidepressants, which have been considered a safer alternative to, for example, benzodiazepines," said Senior Researcher Heidi Taipale.
The research appears in Alzheimer's Research (and) Therapy..