Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (or SSRIs) help in treatment of moderate and severe depression, as well as other mental health conditions. They work increasing levels of serotonin in the brain. A team of European researchers suggest that antidepressant efficiency is different in some people (or don’t work at all) due to the environment conditions. They tested their new theory in stressed mice.
Results of the study indicated that those mice that were kept in more comfortable conditions showed higher expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines and decreased anti-inflammatory genes, as well as showing fewer signs of depression, compared to the stressed mice. And the stressed mice represented lower pro-inflammatory cytokines and higher anti-inflammatory gene expression, and more signs of depression.
Antidepressants may be useful for your mental health, but in some cases, taking them can harm bones. People taking drugs related to serotonin reuptake inhibitors, are sufferring from fractures more. Scientists at the Columbia University, have noticed this pattern, however, while it is unclear whether fractures caused by the effects of antidepressants or associated with the depression.
Patricia Ducy and her colleagues conducted an experiment on mice. Within six weeks, animals were treated with fluoxetine, the main active ingredient Prozac – this resulted in the loss of bone mass. Scientists have noticed that in the first three weeks bones become stronger, and the risk of fracture was reduced, but in the future it leads to the loss of bone mass. This was due to the fact that fluoxetine inhibits the work of osteoclasts – cells that can destroy bone tissue. In the future, however, high levels of serotonin, resulting from ingestion, influenced the work of one of the hypothalamic areas involved in the regulation of bone growth. The authors note that this effect is not caused by all medications, such one as citalopram did not have this drawback.
A similar pattern is observed in humans: patients taking antidepressants longer than a year, are more prone to fractures. It means that physicians prescribing antidepressants to patients, should remember about the potential side effects of such drugs. Patients who are at risk may need to change the way of life – for example, to stop smoking, or change the diet.