Thursday September 19, 2019

Risks Of Intestinal Bleeding Increase With Anti-Depressants: Study

Whenever physicians discover their patients are taking any combination of these medications, they should begin assessing the risks and benefits and determine whether there are alternative treatment plans.

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Pills (representational Image), Pixabay

If you are in the habit of popping anti-depressant pills used to treat anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder, then you could be at a risk of intestinal bleeding which can range from mild to severe and can be life-threatening.

Gastrointestinal bleeding, also known as gastrointestinal haemorrhage, is all forms of bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract from the mouth to the rectum.

Patients taking anti-depressant medications classified as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are 40 per cent more likely to develop severe gastrointestinal bleeding, according to a research review in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.

Although SSRIs are among the most frequently prescribed as they are relatively low-cost, effective and safe, they carry risks for gastrointestinal and intracranial bleeding — particularly when they also use common over-the-counter pain relievers.

Anti-depressants, prostate cancer
The antidepressant drug Prozac, also known as fluoxetine, is pictured. VOA

The most common and concerning interactions occur with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) including ibuprofen and naproxen, anti-coagulants like warfarin or anti-platelet medications such as aspirin and clopidogrel, the study said.

“The real risk comes from the assumption that each of these drugs is relatively safe and benign. But they all carry a risk for bleeding, and that risk increases when these medications are taken concurrently,” said lead author Wei Cheng Yuet, Assistant Professor at the University of North Texas Health Science Centre.

According to Yuet, a significant portion of SSRI prescriptions are written by primary care physicians.

The risk of bleeding is well established but not well known among patients, she said, while encouraging physicians to take a full inventory of the medications their patients take, including over-the-counter NSAIDs.

Anti-depressants
The risk of bleeding is well established but not well known among patients.

“Whenever physicians discover their patients are taking any combination of these medications, they should begin assessing the risks and benefits and determine whether there are alternative treatment plans,” Yuet said.

“For example, physicians should periodically assess antidepressant use even when patients are stable on therapy.”

Also Read: New Expanding Pills To Track Ulcers and Stomach Cancer

Yuet also recommends physicians monitor their patients closely for symptoms of gastrointestinal bleeding during the first 30 days of SSRI therapy, especially if patients are taking concurrent medications that may increase bleeding risk. (IANS)

Next Story

Cancer Linked With Internal Bleeding After Heart Attack

Bleeding during the first six months after discharge from hospital for a heart attack is linked with a subsequent cancer diagnosis

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Heart attack, internal bleeding Cancer
Cancer could be the reason behind internal bleeding after Heart attack. Pixabay

Bleeding during the first six months after discharge from hospital for a heart attack is linked with a subsequent cancer diagnosis, a new study said.

“Our results suggest that patients should seek medical advice if they experience bleeding after discharge.

“Particularly if the bleeding is of gastrointestinal, pulmonary or genitourinary origin, without any obvious reason, and occurs in the first six months. If the cause is cancer, early detection can improve prognosis,” said study author Isabel Munoz Pousa from Alvaro Cunqueiro Hospital in Spain.

Following the discharge for an acute coronary syndrome — heart attack or unstable angina — patients are typically treated with dual antiplatelet therapy for around one year.

This treatment inhibits the formation of blood clots but raises the risk of bleeding.

internal bleeding, Heart Disease, Heart Failure
The median time from bleeding to cancer was 4.6 months. The link with cancer increased as the severity of bleeding worsened. Pixabay

For the study, the researchers retrospectively reviewed the hospital records of 3,644 acute coronary syndrome patients discharged with dual antiplatelet therapy from Alvaro Cunqueiro Hospital.

Patients were followed-up for a median of 56.2 months for bleeding events and cancer.

The researchers analysed associations between bleeding and the absolute risk of a new cancer diagnosis.

Bleeding occurred in 1,215 patients — 33 per cent during follow-up and 227 patients (6 per cent) had a new diagnosis of cancer.

ALSO READ: Early Onset of Menstruation Associated with Higher Risk of Diabetes

After adjustment for factors known to influence bleeding or cancer, post-discharge bleeding was associated with a threefold higher risk of a new cancer diagnosis.

The median time from bleeding to cancer was 4.6 months. The link with cancer increased as the severity of bleeding worsened.

Spontaneous bleeding with no apparent cause was linked with four times higher risk of a cancer diagnosis.

“Most of the bleeding episodes in the study were mild. The bleeding events more strongly related with a new cancer diagnosis were severe haemorrhages of unknown cause requiring surgery — for example digestive bleeding needing endoscopic treatment,” Pousa said.

The study was presented at the ESC Congress 2019 in Paris on August 31. (IANS)