First time use of SSRIs may increase stroke risk.

Researchers analyzing antidepressant prescriptions among 21,124 stroke victims in Taiwan found that over the course of a month, the incidence of stroke increased by 48 percent within two weeks of starting an antidepressant.

The risk of stroke was greatest with SSRIs (Prozac, Paxil, others), but the risk decreased when six or more SSRI prescriptions had been filled over the course of a year.

The research suggests that the risk of stroke may be slightly elevated only upon the start of SSRI therapy. More research is necessary to confirm the link.

Source: American J. of Psychiatry, vol. 168, p. 457; Prepared by the Editors of The Johns Hopkins Medical Letter: Health After 50

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at

Published: 07 Jul 2013

Last Modified: 07 Jul 2013