You’ve heard me talk plenty about how NSAID painkillers can cause stomach bleeding… a big problem for anyone, but potentially a very serious issue for older patients. Well, it turns out that if you’re also taking an antidepressant, your risk of GI bleeding shoots through the roof.
Here’s what you need to know.
A team of researchers looked at the results of four studies that involved 153,000 patients. They either took antidepressants, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, or a combination of the two.
The particular antidepressants that are raising the alarm are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Some of the more recognizable brand names include Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft.
Risk for bleeding skyrockets with this drug combo
The findings were disturbing:
- Patients taking just SSRIs had 2.4 times the risk of GI bleeding
- Patients taking only NSAIDs had 3.2 times the risk
- For those taking both meds, the risk was a startling 6.3 times higher.
But that wasn’t all. The researchers also drew a particularly chilling picture of how soon a patient could experience a serious GI-bleed incident: Those taking SSRIs and NSAIDs could see a problem after taking them just 82 times. That’s less than three months, assuming a daily dosage!
And if you have any other risk factors for GI bleeding, problems can develop even sooner.
Doctors who keep up with current research will hopefully think twice about what they prescribe to patients who suffer from depression along with, let’s say, migraine headaches.
But what about patients who don’t have a specific, ongoing reason for taking an NSAID? Maybe they take them when they get sore following physical exercise or when they experience just general aches and pains, but don’t think to mention it to their doctor.
Maybe that patient is YOU. I ask you to heed the warning in this study: These two drugs combined are a lethal mix. If I had my druthers, you’d never reach for one of those NSAID bottles again. The risk isn’t worth it.
Dr. Alan Inglis
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