IBJNews

Antidepressants linked to narrowed arteries

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Antidepressants may narrow the arteries of middle-aged men, potentially putting them at risk for heart attacks and stroke, researchers said.

A study involving 513 male twins, with an average age of 55, found those who took medications like Eli Lilly & Co.’s Cymbalta, Forest Laboratories Inc.’s Lexapro,  or Pfizer Inc.’s Zoloft had thicker blood vessel walls. The increase, a measure of fatty-plaque buildup linked to atherosclerosis, was seen regardless of what type of antidepressant the men were taking.

The news seemed to have little impact on Indianapolis-based Lilly's stock. Shares dropped 2 cents Monday morning, to $34.97 each.

Cymbalta, Lilly's No. 2 seller, racked up $3.5 billion in sales in 2010, and some analysts say it may approach $5 billion annually before generic competition arrives in 2013.

Arteries naturally thicken with age, and each 10-micron increase is linked to a 1.8-percent higher risk of heart attack and stroke. Men taking antidepressants had a 41-micron thicker lining than their twin brothers who weren’t on medication, making their arteries appear about four years older. The difference was greatest in men who were depressed while taking the drugs, according to the study presented today at the American College of Cardiology meeting in New Orleans.

“Because we didn’t see an association between depression itself and a thickening of the carotid artery, it strengthens the argument that it is more likely the antidepressants than the actual depression that could be behind the association,” said lead researcher Amit Shah, a cardiology fellow at Emory University in Atlanta, in a statement.

The U.S. National Institutes of Health funded the study.

Antidepressants increase levels of brain chemicals including serotonin and norepinephrine, which may cause blood vessels to constrict, Shah said. The narrower opening may limit blood flow and boost hypertension, triggering atherosclerosis and heart disease, he said. Additional studies are needed to confirm whether the medications, the condition or other factors are responsible for the changes, he said.
 

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Men VS Women
    I'm surprised that the study was done on men - it was my understanding that many more women take antidepressants than men? Does anyone have those numbers?
  • weight issue
    These medications are linked to overeating, low energy and weight gain. Is it the weight gain that causes the narrowed arteries or the medication itself? Did the study control for weight?

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Really, taking someone managing the regulation of Alcohol and making himthe President of an IVY Tech regional campus. Does he have an education background?

  2. Jan, great rant. Now how about you review the report and offer rebuttal of the memo. This might be more conducive to civil discourse than a wild rant with no supporting facts. Perhaps some links to support your assertions would be helpful

  3. I've lived in Indianapolis my whole and been to the track 3 times. Once for a Brickyard, once last year on a practice day for Indy 500, and once when I was a high school student to pick up trash for community service. In the past 11 years, I would say while the IMS is a great venue, there are some upgrades that would show that it's changing with the times, just like the city is. First, take out the bleachers and put in individual seats. Kentucky Motor Speedway has individual seats and they look cool. Fix up the restrooms. Add wi-fi. Like others have suggested, look at bringing in concerts leading up to events. Don't just stick with the country music genre. Pop music would work well too I believe. This will attract more young celebrities to the Indy 500 like the kind that go to the Kentucky Derby. Work with Indy Go to increase the frequency of the bus route to the track during high end events. That way people have other options than worrying about where to park and paying for parking. Then after all of this, look at getting night lights. I think the aforementioned strategies are more necessary than night racing at this point in time.

  4. Talking about congestion ANYWHERE in Indianapolis is absolutely laughable. Sure you may have to wait in 5 minutes of traffic to travel down BR avenue during *peak* times. But that is absolutely nothing compared to actual big cities. Indy is way too suburban to have actual congestion problems. So please, never bring up "congestion" as an excuse to avoid development in Indianapolis. If anything, we could use a little more.

  5. Oh wait. Never mind.

ADVERTISEMENT