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Antidepressants increase fall risk in dementia patients

Antidepressants increase fall risk in dementia patients
19th January 2012

People with dementia who are given antidepressants are at an increased risk of falling, according to new research.

A study at Erasmus University Medical Centre revealed that patients with dementia who use average doses of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors [SSRIs] are three times more likely to have a fall that results in injury than those who do not take the drug.

The project also discovered that the risk of injurious fall increased if patients were given hypnotic or sedative drugs as sleeping pills in addition to antidepressants, Carolyn Shanty Sterke, lead author of the study, explained.

"Physicians should be cautious in prescribing SSRIs to older people with dementia, even at low doses," she stated.

However, anti-depressants have been proven by Yale University researchers to stimulate new cell growth in an area of the brain known to suffer from cell death and atrophy.

The study showed that continued administration of anti-depressants increases the number of neurons in an adult's hippocampal region of the brain.

Find out about dementia care and support services at Barchester care homes.