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Primary Care Providers May Balk at Giving Teens Antidepressants

Posted 15 Jan 2014 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 15, 2014 – Primary health care providers are reluctant to prescribe antidepressants for their teenaged patients, even in cases of severe depression, a new study suggests. The researchers found that those who were more knowledgeable about depression – and especially those who could consult with an on-site mental health expert – were more likely to prescribe antidepressants for depressed teens. The study included 58 pediatric primary care providers. Most were doctors, but some were nurse practitioners or other professionals. The study participants were given hypothetical situations describing two 15-year-old girls with depression. One girl met the criteria for moderate depression and the other for severe depression, but neither was suicidal. The participants were asked to make an initial treatment recommendation for each of the girls. Only one-quarter of them said they ... Read more

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Antidepressants in Pregnancy Tied to Slight Risk of Lung Disorder in Babies

Posted 15 Jan 2014 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 15, 2014 – Taking certain antidepressants in late pregnancy more than doubles the odds of a lung complication in newborns, a new review says. Fortunately, the study also found that the absolute risk of the complication – known as persistent pulmonary hypertension – was still low, affecting about 3.5 out of every 1,000 births, according to study author Dr. Sophie Grigoriadis. "Women taking these medications in pregnancy should not panic. The risk is still quite low. It should be one of the factors you consider when you decide to use medications, but it has to be balanced with the potential problems that can occur if you don't treat depression," said Grigoriadis, head of the Women's Mood and Anxiety Clinic: Reproductive Transitions at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center, in Toronto. Deciding how to treat depression during pregnancy can be difficult, the study noted. The ... Read more

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Antidepressant Use During Pregnancy Not Linked to Autism

Posted 18 Dec 2013 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 18, 2013 – Despite some concerns to the contrary, children whose moms used antidepressants during pregnancy do not appear to be at increased risk of autism, a large new Danish study suggests. The results, published Dec. 19 in the New England Journal of Medicine, offer some reassurance, experts said. There have been some hints that antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) could be linked to autism. SSRIs are the "first-line" drug against depression, and include medications such as fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), citalopram (Celexa) and paroxetine (Paxil). In one recent U.S. study, mothers' SSRI use during pregnancy was tied to a twofold increase in the odds that her child would have autism. A Swedish study saw a similar pattern, though the risk linked to the drugs was smaller. But both studies included only small numbers of ... Read more

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Exercise Might Lift Libido in Women on Antidepressants

Posted 12 Dec 2013 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Dec. 12, 2013 – Exercise might help treat sexual problems in women taking antidepressants, especially if their workouts occur right before sex, new research reveals. The study included 52 women who had reduced desire and other sexual side effects while taking antidepressants. For the first three weeks of the study, the women did not exercise. They were then divided into two groups for the next three weeks, with one group assigned to exercise immediately before sex and the other group assigned to exercise in a way that was not timed to having sex. The researchers then reversed the two groups for another three weeks. Having a regular exercise routine improved orgasm in all the women, the findings showed. But doing 30 minutes of exercise immediately before sex led to a significant boost in libido and overall improvements in sexual functioning, according to the study, which was ... Read more

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Taking Antidepressants During Pregnancy May Not Raise Autism Risk

Posted 25 Nov 2013 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Nov. 25, 2013 – Children of mothers who take a widely used class of antidepressants during pregnancy are not at increased risk for autism, a large new study finds. Autism, a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects communication and social skills, is estimated to affect about one in 88 children in the United States. Previous research has suggested that women who take antidepressants during pregnancy are up to five times more likely to have children with autism. This study focused on antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as Prozac (fluoxetine) and Paxil (paroxetine). Researchers followed more than 600,000 Danish children born between 1996 and 2006. Initial results showed an almost 2 percent risk of having a child with autism for pregnant women who took SSRIs during their pregnancy, compared with 1.5 percent for those who did not. However, ... Read more

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'Exposure Therapy' Along With Antidepressants May Help With OCD

Posted 11 Sep 2013 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 11 – New research suggests that patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder do better when they combine intensive "exposure therapy" with an antidepressant rather than taking a common two-drug combination. There are caveats, however: The kind of exposure therapy used in the study required patients to see therapists twice a week, which can be expensive; some obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) patients simply refuse to engage in this kind of therapy; and it's not clear what happens to patients in the long term. Still, OCD patients who take antidepressants and still have symptoms should try exposure therapy before taking the medications with a drug known as risperidone, said study lead author Dr. Helen Blair Simpson, a professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University. "If risperidone is tried, clinicians should know that it is likely to help only a small subset, ... Read more

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Most Medications OK During Breast-Feeding, Report Says

Posted 26 Aug 2013 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Aug. 26 – Most breast-feeding moms can safely take the medications and vaccines they need, without fear they'll harm a nursing infant, according to a new report from a leading group of U.S. pediatricians. The report, from the American Academy of Pediatrics in consultation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, describes proposed changes to drug labels. The new labels would replace the current "Nursing Mothers" section with a heading called "Lactation," which would give much more detailed information about a drug's transfer to breast milk and potential to harm a breast-fed baby. The proposed changes are part of a push by the FDA to require drug makers to study how medications may affect breast-feeding and to better communicate that information to women and their doctors. "Because we know that breast-feeding has both developmental and health benefits for the mom and the ... Read more

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7 out of 10 Americans Take a Prescription Drug: Study

Posted 27 Jun 2013 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, June 27 – Nearly 70 percent of Americans take prescription drugs, with antibiotics, antidepressants and painkillers being the most widely used, according to a new study. Researchers also found that more than half of patients take two prescription drugs, while 20 percent take five or more prescription medications. One other key finding: "As you get older you tend to get more prescriptions, and women tend to get more prescriptions than men," study author Dr. Jennifer St. Sauver, of the Mayo Clinic Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery, said in a Mayo news release. The findings come from an analysis of 2009 statistics from people living in Olmsted County, Minn., near the Mayo Clinic. St. Sauver believes the findings are comparable to people living elsewhere in the United States. According to the study, 17 percent of patients took antibiotics, 13 percent took ... Read more

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Antidepressants May Hasten Bypass Recovery, Study Finds

Posted 1 May 2013 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, May 1 – Depression is relatively common in patients who undergo heart bypass surgery, and a new study finds that short-term use of antidepressants may aid patients' recovery. "Depression among patients requiring or having undergone [bypass] surgery is high and can significantly impact postoperative recovery," said one expert not connected to the study, Dr. Bryan Bruno, acting chairman of the department of psychiatry at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. In this study, a team of French researchers looked at 182 patients who started taking a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant two to three weeks before undergoing coronary artery bypass graft surgery and continued taking it for six months after the procedure. SSRIs include widely used antidepressants such as Celexa, Lexapro, Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft. In this study, patients took one 10 milligram ... Read more

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Study: Antidepressant Use in Pregnancy May Not Affect Baby's Growth

Posted 20 Mar 2013 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, March 20 – Taking antidepressants during pregnancy does not have an impact on an infant's growth during the first year of life, a new study says. Previous research suggested that depression during pregnancy could slow infant growth, but there were concerns that prescribing antidepressants to pregnant women might also hinder a baby's physical development. In this study, Northwestern University researchers found that infants born to mothers who took selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants during pregnancy had a similar weight, length and head circumference over the first year as babies born to mothers who did not have depression and did not take antidepressants during pregnancy. The infants whose mothers took antidepressants were shorter at birth, but that difference vanished by the time they were 2 weeks old, the study authors reported. The investigators ... Read more

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Psychiatric Drugs More Often Prescribed in the South

Posted 1 Feb 2013 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Feb. 1 – Use of psychiatric medications is most prevalent in the southern United States and least prevalent in the West, according to a new U.S. study. Although people living in the West are the least likely to use antipsychotics, antidepressants and stimulants, the Yale researchers found that the drugs' use is 40 percent higher in a large section of the South than in other parts of the country. The study authors attributed this discrepancy to variations in local access to health care and marketing efforts within the pharmaceutical industry. "The geographic patterns we identify are striking and map onto the patterns found for a host of other medical conditions and treatments, from cognitive decline to bypass surgery," Marissa King, assistant professor of organizational behavior at the Yale School of Management, said in a school news release. "Our work suggests that access to ... Read more

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Prenatal Antidepressants Don't Raise Fetal, Infant Death Risk: Study

Posted 2 Jan 2013 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 2 – Women who take certain antidepressants while pregnant do not raise the risk of a stillbirth or death of their baby in the first year of life, according to a large new study. The findings stem from an analysis involving 30,000 women in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, who gave birth to more than 1.6 million babies, in total, between 1996 and 2007. Close to 2 percent of the women took prescription selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as Prozac (fluoxetine) and Paxil (paroxetine), for depressive symptoms during their pregnancy. The research team, led by Dr. Olof Stephansson of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, reports in the Jan. 2 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association that initially women taking an SSRI for depression did seem to experience statistically higher rates of stillbirth and infant death. However, ... Read more

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Antidepressants May Lead to Fewer Seizures in People With Epilepsy

Posted 3 Dec 2012 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Dec. 3 – Besides helping to boost mood, antidepressants may also reduce seizure frequency for people with epilepsy, a new study suggests. The study, to be presented Monday at the annual meeting of the American Epilepsy Society in San Diego, included patients who were prescribed one of two types of antidepressants – selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). These types include drugs such as Celexa, Paxil, Prozac and Zoloft, among others. Researchers led by Dr. Ramses Ribot, of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, tracked changes in mood and anxiety levels for 100 people with epilepsy at three and six months after the start of antidepressant therapy. Improvement or remission of symptoms was seen in 86 percent of patients, the investigators found. The antidepressants tested "do not appear to worsen seizure ... Read more

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Common Antidepressants Tied to Higher Bleeding Risk in Warfarin Users: Study

Posted 8 Nov 2012 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Nov. 8 – Millions of older Americans take the blood thinner warfarin, and many may also take one of a widely used class of antidepressants called SSRIs. Now, a new study finds that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) – which include Celexa, Paxil, Prozac and Zoloft – may raise the risk for major bleeding in patients also taking warfarin. Still, because depression is such a tough-to-treat illness, experts say the finding is no reason for patients on warfarin to immediately drop their SSRI. "The most important thing would be to talk to their doctor, and perhaps for patients who are on both of these medicines, doctors should just keep a close eye on them," said study author Gene Quinn, who was a resident physician in internal medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, at the time of the study. He presented the finding this week at the American Heart ... Read more

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Common Antidepressants Too Risky During Pregnancy, Researchers Say

Posted 31 Oct 2012 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 31 – Women who take a popular class of antidepressants during pregnancy may be risking the health of their developing fetus, and the risk may outweigh any benefit to the mother, a new review of data suggests. According to new research, use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) – which include Celexa, Paxil, Prozac and Zoloft – while pregnant can increase the risk of miscarriage, preterm birth, pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia and neurobehavioral problems such as autism later in life. "There is clear and concerning evidence of risk when pregnant women use these medications," said Dr. Adam Urato, senior author of a study appearing in the Oct. 31 online edition of Human Reproduction. On the other hand, he said, there is no clear evidence that SSRI antidepressants actually benefit the mother in terms of alleviating mild-to-moderate depression. Not ... Read more

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