Weighing Risks and Benefits of Drug Treatment for Major Depression

Posted on June 14, 2019

Medications are widely prescribed for patients to aid them in coping with depression, often by improving mood and sleep. However, it is important to consider if certain antidepressants are appropriate for some patients, especially when older adults are concerned. For individuals who are 65 years old and above, some types of antidepressants may bring about more harm than good.

Institutions have cautioned healthcare providers against prescribing medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) to older individuals with a history of falls or other serious injuries, as the medications may put them at greater risk of such dangers.

A research study was conducted to determine the dangers associated with prescribing antidepressants for major depressive disorders in adults who are 65 years old and above. Patients who were prescribed serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) encountered more harmful events compared to patients who took placebos. Those who were prescribed SSRIs did not encounter more harmful events than those who were given placebos. However, duloxetine, an SSRI, has been found to increase the risk of falls.

Certain medications for depression have not been studied in elderly patients with depression, hence, more research needs to be done to gain a better understanding of what is appropriate for patients in this group. By taking into account the safety profiles of these medications, we can create a better healthcare system for older adults.

Category(s):Depression, Health / Illness / Medical Issues

Source material from Science Daily

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