Treating depression with antidepressants for patients suffering from moderate to severe depression seems to lower rates of death, coronary artery disease and stroke, according to doctors at Salt Lake City’s Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute.
The study’s preliminary findings are scheduled to be presented at the annual American College of Cardiology conference this month.
There are several forms of depressive disorders which include major depression, persistent depressive disorder, psychotic depression, postpartum depression, bipolar disorder, and season affective disorder (SAD).
Depression is most likely caused by a combination of genetic, biological, psychological, and environmental factors according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
Out of a total of more than 26,000 patients, 20 percent had moderate or severe depression while the remainder did not exhibit depression after answering a 9-question depression screening, or they only had mild depression. The analysis of those suffering from moderate to severe depression who were taking antidepressants resulted in findings indicating a connection between antidepressants used to treat depression and a lower risk for heart disease.
The reduced cardiovascular risk was not seen in patients with little or no depression.
Dr. Heidi May, a public scientist and the study’s lead author, was quoted by Medical News Today as having said that the “study demonstrates the importance of evaluating patients for depression, not only in terms of improving their mood, but reducing their risk for heart disease.”
This study demonstrates the importance of evaluating patients for depression, not only in terms of improving their mood, but reducing their risk for heart disease. […] Antidepressants were not associated with a reduced cardiovascular risk in people with little or no depression, but in moderately to severely depressed people, antidepressants were shown to significantly improve cardiovascular outcomes
May went on to say “that in the more depressed people, the antidepressant really was what made the big difference.”
Researchers behind the study believe that the findings suggest that antidepressants could be more effective than cholesterol-lowering drugs when it comes to tackling cardiovascular risk.