GPs should only prescribe SSRIs for as short a time as possible in women taking the drugs for menopausal symptoms, according to researchers who found their use may increase the risk of bone fractures.
The team found fractures were 76% more common after one year in women prescribed SSRIs to control menopausal symptoms than in women of the same age who were not taking the drugs. The higher fracture risk also persisted over five years of treatment.
Although their study was only observational and therefore unable to show whether SSRI use was actually causing the increase in bone fractures, the authors said antidepressants are thought to promote bone thinning at a molecular level.
They concluded: ‘SSRIs appear to increase fracture risk among middle aged women without psychiatric disorders, an effect sustained over time, suggesting that shorter duration of treatment may decrease [this].’