According to information found during an SSRI study, taking antidepressant medications like Paxil or Effexor during the perioperative period can increase a patient’s chances of suffering from harmful adverse side effects.
The study was conducted by Dr. Andrew D. Auerbach, M.D., M.P.H., of the University of California-San Francisco. Researchers analyzed data collected from 530,416 patients 18 years of age and older who had undergone major surgery from January 2006 through December 2008 at 375 U.S. hospitals. What they found was that 10 percent of the patients in receipt of SSRI medications like Paxil and Effexor were more likely to require readmission into the hospital and suffer from major bleeding events that may require blood transfusions. The results of this study were published on April 29 in JAMA.
Experts believe that “the antidepressant drugs may affect blood platelet functioning, which may prevent the platelets from clotting correctly. If the blood is unable to effectively clot, excessive bleeding can occur resulting in other complications.” These risks have Auerbach recommending that patients who are taking SSRIs should stop taking the drugs before having surgery.
“Receiving SSRIs in the perioperative period is associated with a higher risk for adverse events. Determining whether patient factors or SSRIs themselves are responsible for elevated risks requires prospective study,” the study concludes.
SSRIs are often given to patients suffering from major depression and anxiety disorders. Both Paxil and Effexor can cause serious side effects including violent and suicidal thoughts and behavior. The pills have also been proven to cause birth defects (PPHN, spinabifida, neural tube defects, oral clefts) in babies whose mothers take the pills while pregnant.