Antidepressants may cause bone fractures in women

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Women who take selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Celexa, Paxil, Prozac, and Zoloft to treat menopausal symptoms are up to 76% more likely to break a bone, according to a new study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

SSRIs, most often used to treat depression, are also frequently prescribed for hot flashes, night sweats, and other symptoms that occur during menopause.

Looking at data from more than 137,000 women between ages 40 and 64 who took SSRIs between 1998 and 2010, the researchers found that, one year after starting treatment, women were 76% more likely to suffer a fracture, and the risk remained high over time—it was 73% after two years and 67% after five years.

“These findings suggest that shorter duration of treatment might mitigate the risk of developing excess fractures,” said first author Yi-han Sheu, a doctoral student in the Department of Epidemiology.