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Re: SSRIs could cause strokes?

Posted by OldSchool on January 9, 2002, at 14:05:26

In reply to SSRIs could cause strokes?, posted by manowar on January 9, 2002, at 12:10:54

> Hi guys,
> Seriously, my intention is not to freak anyone out, but the article below came out today from PsychiatryMatters.MD. The article provided a link to this article in Here's the link if you want to view it--
> Here's a quote taken from the "Neurology" article:
> "Serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine) is a potent vasoconstrictor amine."
> I've never heard about that before. I always knew that SSRIs cause headaches for some people (me incl.), but no one ever told me that SSRIs had vasoconstrictor properties.
> If you experience headaches while taking SSRIs, this may be a concern. You may want to talk to your doctor.
> I hope this article is wrong, because so many people depend on SSRIs, but I strongly believe that everyone should be an informed consumer.
> If anyone thinks I was irresponsible to put this info on "Psycho-babble", I'm sorry, but dammit, I'm tired of being lied to. Remember this one--"SSRIs only cause sexual dysfunction in 5% of patients" (I think they said 5%-it could have been 15%), when the truth was that SSRIs cause dysfunction in almost half of the people that take them.
> Anyway, this is the article from PsychiatryMatters.MD--
> 09 January 2002
> Serotonergic drugs 'could cause strokes'
> People who take serotonin-enhancing drugs, including some antidepressants, decongestants, dieting pills, and the class A drug ecstasy, may be at increased risk of suffering a stroke, the findings of a case study suggest. The researchers urge doctors to ask patients if they have been using these drugs before commencing treatment.
> The team, led by Aneesh Singhal, from Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, reports in the journal Neurology on patients who experienced severe headaches, seizures and stroke after taking multiple serotonergic drugs for complaints such as depression, obesity, and migraine.
> The first, a woman, experienced a 'worst ever' headache and blurred vision two days after taking an over-the-counter decongestant while taking the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor sertraline, together with trazodone, thioridazine, clonazepam, and a treatment for asthma.
> Another woman experienced an 'explosive' headache and nausea after taking a similar cold remedy on top of the SSRI paroxetine and clonazepam.
> Imaging tests performed after the symptoms began revealed that both women had suffered several strokes. The researchers realized that the strokes were due to narrowing of blood vessels in the brain, presumably by the serotonin-enhancing drugs. After discontinuation of the drugs the headaches subsided, and over the following three months there was gradual normalization of cerebral blood flow.
> 'At presents our data suggest that it may be important to question individuals taking serotonergic drugs about the development of sudden-onset headaches,' the authors stress. 'If vasoconstriction is suspected, serotonergic agents should be discontinued.'
> Peace,
> Tim

Keep in mind this is just one study. There are a gazillion studies out there on everything under the sun. You can always find one study to contradict another study. Furthermore, many "studies" are poorly done and slanted or biased by the people who did them. This is a particularly bad problem in the field of mental illness research where subjective psychology based methods of diagnosis are used.

There are many, many people who are personally biased against the use of psychiatry medications to begin with. This personal bias may show up in many so called "studies" you read about that relate to these medications, but in subtle ways.

I dont put a lot of stock in many "studies" done in psychiatry related stuff. For example in this study I could come back and say that increasing serotonin decreases headaches and makes irritated blood vessels in the head relax. This has been my personal experience. Ive found that SSRIs oftentimes cause headaches in the first week or two Im on them, but this subsides and then the increased serotonin makes headaches go away.

Also, since SSRIs have a calming, relaxing or anti-anxiety effect on many people the chances of them having a stroke would probably be lower.

Old School




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