According to information found in a new study, patients that have had a heart attack are at an increased risk of bleeding if they take antidepressant medication in combination with anti-platelet drugs.

The study, which appears in the Sept. 26 issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal, shows that heart attack patients taking both SSRI medications (like Paxil, Zoloft and Prozac) along with anti-platelet drugs (aspirin, Plavix) are at a higher risk of bleeding than the patients that only take the anti-clotting drugs. Anti-platelet drugs are used to prevent blood cells from sticking together and forming a blood clot. The anti-platelet drugs are generally given to heart attack patients as a means of preventing another heart attack, but it also leaves them open to more bleeding. However, when the anti-platelets are taken with SSRIs, the bleeding is even more likely.

According to researchers at McGill University in Montreal, heart attack patients are often found to develop depression and prescribed antidepressants. Dr. Kirk Garrett, clinical director of interventional cardiovascular research at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, says, “We’re always concerned about how other medicines might interact with the medicines we know are essential to heart health and recovery after heart attack. Although SSRIs are used in only a few cardiac patients, learning that SSRIs can increase (the) risk of bleeding complications could have important implications for how we care for patients after stents and other heart procedures.”

In the study, the researchers collected data from 27,000 heart attack patients aged 50 and older. They learned that the patients taking aspirin or Plavix on its own had the same chance of bleeding, but those that took SSRI antidepressants and the aspirin/Plavix had a 42 percent higher chance of bleeding. Finally, the patients that took an SSRI with both aspirin and clopidogrel (dual anti-platelet therapy) had a 57 percent higher risk of bleeding. Some of the bleeding that occurred during the study included gastrointestinal bleeding and hemorrhagic stroke.

If you or a loved one has taken an SSRI like Prozac, Zoloft or Paxil and suffered from adverse side effects as a result, contact the attorneys at Kell Lampin. We will help you understand your condition while working hard to get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries.