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Antidepressant Use and Breast Cancer: Exploring a New Threat

Susan Patterson
December 10th, 2012
Updated 12/10/2012 at 2:56 am
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breastcancerribbon4 260x162 Antidepressant Use and Breast Cancer: Exploring a New ThreatResearch has found a suspicious link between the use of anti-depressant medication and some very unpleasant side effects including headaches, stomach aches, nervousness, increased risk of miscarriage, autism and suicidal thoughts. But that’s not all. With results from 61 different studies,  researchers are once again pointing a finger at anti-depressants. This time, they are saying that women who take a selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer.

Women are among the top users of the 27 million Americans who take antidepressants on a regular basis. In fact, women are diagnosed more than twice as much as men with Major Depressive Disorder and three times more frequently diagnosed with enduring depression known as Dysthymic Disorder. The link between the use of antidepressants and breast cancer is alarming due to the fact that the Alliance for Human Research Protection reports that one woman out of eight will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in her life. Not only is breast cancer an issue with the number of women taking antidepressants, but also the fact that antidepressant use is linked to birth defects, threatening the health of not only women but also children.

To make matters more complicated, antidepressants are prescribed to women on a regular basis for a wide number of non-depression related health conditions such as eating disorders, hot flashes and headaches. Overall, antidepressants fall in line only behind painkillers and cholesterol-lowering drugs in terms of the amount of prescriptions written.

No One Knows

There is mounting concern, however, that the critical association between antidepressant use and breast cancer is not being taken seriously enough. One observation is that the link is being buried for fear that the pharmaceutical and medical industry may suffer financial loss if such information were to be “front page news”, so to speak. Much of the evidence that realizes the imminent danger of antidepressants is never seen by the public or study results are so skewed that a relationship is very hard to demonstrate. Pharmaceutical industry ghost writers far too often paint a rather rosy picture of antidepressants and other drugs, downplaying the side effects, in order to increase sales.

Related Read: Antidepressants Thicken Arteries 400% Faster than Aging

The Alliance for Human Research Protection states that the use of antidepressants in America has doubled between 1996 and 2005 while studies have indicated a scary link to health conditions such as increased risk of stroke, heart disease and psychological problems. We can now, unfortunately, add an increased risk of breast cancer to this list.

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  • Djangito

    Although there may indeed be a direct correlation between these two things, antidepressants and breast cancer, there is another way of looking at this.

    Women who see doctors regularly are more likely to be prescribed any number of drugs, including antidepressants and be the subject of numerous tests likes mammograms.

    Just walking into a doctor’s office ups your chances of having both diagnoses: breast cancer and depression.

    The same thing applies to drugs for hypertension, high cholesterol or effective pain relief. Those of us who do not go to doctors simply do not get the drugs…or the tests, or the diagnoses.

    Perhaps we will die of these diseases, without every being treated, but those of us in the population who rarely consult with a physician about our physical maladies are simply not part of the statistics on this.

  • dinakar

    Drug shortages pharmaceutical companies are currently facing is never inspected by the FDA. This article really points on all the mistakes done by authorities that lead to the drug shortage. Now it will take time to come back to the normal procedures.

  • Birkey

    Over the last 20 years antidepressant usage has increased 400 percent. Antidepressants are now the most commonly prescribed medication in the United States for people between 18 and 44 years of age, the childbearing years for most women. And as women enter their late 30s and early 40s they are more likely to experience infertility.

  • Savannah Combes

    Well, this might not be proven yet, but it will be indeed very alarming if that's the case. I think people, specifically women should not ignore this and if they notice some signs of depression, they should already seek help. There are a lot of counselling, self help books and other ways to fight it off.

  • Edilberto Durano

    I don't think this is proven as fact. A thorough research about this matter is still needed on this subject.
    Ed of