Dangers of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are prescribed to treat depression, anxiety disorders, panic attacks and other personality disorders.  Although Big Pharma and mainstream medicine continue to push SSRIs antidepressants such as Paxil and Prozac, the documented risks and side effects of these drugs remain often ignored.

1.            If you take selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) to treat depression symptoms, you could be significantly upping your risk of suffering a rare form of stroke. These are the findings of a study published in the journal Neurology.  Results of the study, which analyzed data from more than 500,000 participants, found that SSRI users had a 40 to 50 percent increased likelihood of developing bleeding in the brain. The link between hemorrhagic strokes and SSRIs is because the drugs decrease the number of platelet blood cells that stick together to form clots.

2.            The National Institutes of Health points out that upper gastrointestinal bleeding risk is higher for patients with previous ulcers or gastrointestinal problems, the elderly and those with certain other medical conditions. SSRIs also are suspected of interacting with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which are widely prescribed for these conditions. Use of aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or anticoagulants, such as warfarin (Coumadin), may increase the risk of bleeding when combined with a SSRIs.

3.            A find published in the journal Human Reproduction ( authored by Dr. Adam Urato, obstetrician and chairman of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at MetroWest Medical Center in Framingham, Mass., and Dr. Alice Domar, a psychologist and assistant professor at Harvard Medical School) shows drastically increased rates of birth defects in children who are exposed to SSRI drugs while in the womb. The risk of miscarriages also skyrockets with antidepressant drug use during pregnancy. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning a few years ago that pregnant women taking the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant paroxetine risk giving birth to infants with major birth defects, including heart abnormalities, persistent pulmonary hypertension, anencephaly, respiratory distress, cleft lip and cleft palate.

4.            One of the first scientific investigations into the effect of SSRIs on sperm quality also confirmed that paroxetine impairs sexual function. More than a third of the research subjects reported significant changes in erectile function and about half had difficulty ejaculating. This study goes one step further, demonstrating that they can cause a major increase in genetic damage to sperm," Dr. Peter Schlegel, the study's senior author and chairman of the Department of Urology and professor of reproductive medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College, explained that as many as half of men who took SSRIs have a reduced ability to conceive.  The scientists could not identify the exact way the SSRI caused the DNA fragmentation, but the evidence strongly suggests the drug slows sperm as it moves through the male reproductive tract from the testis to the ejaculatory ducts. When this happens, the sluggish sperm grows old and its DNA becomes damaged.

6.            Furthermore, SSRIs increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in young adults and teens. As the number of people being treated for depression with Prozac increased, doctors observed an alarming number of reports of their thoughts about suicide and even actions taken to hurt themselves. Studies on children with major depressive disorder have found statistically significant increases of the risks of "possible suicidal ideation and suicidal behavior" by about 80%, and of agitation and hostility by about 130%.

7.            Serotonin Syndrome occurs when a patient accumulates too much serotonin in the brain - either from overdosing on an SSRI or taking a combination of medicines that boost the serotonin levels beyond what the brain can handle. With this condition, the onset can occur within minutes and is fatal.

8.            SSRIs technically are not considered addictive. However, doctors do say that these antidepressants make users dependent on them as discontinuation can lead to major sensory and sleep disturbances. Drug dependency is the state where a person needs steady or increasing doses of the drug to maintain normal functioning.

Some other side effects of SSRIs are nausea, dry mouth, headache, diarrhea, nervousness, agitation or restlessness, reduced sexual desire or difficulty reaching orgasm, inability to maintain an erection (erectile dysfunction), rashes, increased sweating, weight gain, drowsiness and insomnia.

Because antidepressant medications are such big business for drug manufacturers, the pharmaceutical industry reacts rarely to research that links these prescription medications to dangerous side effects. However, if an herbal supplement were causing even one of these side effects, you wouldn't see the media SCREAMING about their dangers and FDA banning it immediately.

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