A new Canadian Study, published in the Sept. 26 Canadian Medical Association Journal, has found that heart attack patients that take anti-platelet medications like aspirin or Plavix while also taking an SSRI antidepressant drug like Paxil have an increased chance of bleeding.
The study was conducted by researchers who collected information from more than 27,000 heart attack victims who were 50 years of age or older. They found that the patients taking the anti-platelets with no other drugs had the regular expectancy of bleeding. However, researchers also found that those that took aspirin with an SSRI had a 42 percent higher chance of bleeding and those that took the SSRI (Paxil) with both aspirin and clopidogrel (dual anti-platelet therapy) had a 57 percent higher risk of bleeding.
In a journal news release of the study results, researchers said, “Ultimately, clinicians must weigh the benefits of SSRI therapy against the risk of bleeding in patients with major depression following acute myocardial infarction.”
It is already established that many heart attack patients end up developing depression and are prescribed antidepressants as a treatment for it. This new research can go a long way to preventing the mix of drugs like Plavix with SSRIs like Paxil, which will in turn help prevent the bleeding that can lead to more heart attacks in the future.
Dr. Kirk Garrett, clinical director of interventional cardiovascular research at New York’s Lenox Hill Hospital, 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.”
Advising patients against the use of SSRIs with anti-platelets is not a bad idea anyway, since SSRI drugs like Paxil have also been linked with various other dangerous and potentially fatal side effects when used on their own. It just goes to show that there may not be any healthy way for patients to take medications like Paxil safely, either on its own or with other drugs.