A new study from the University of Eastern Finland has found that the use of antidepressants nearly doubles the risk of hip fracture among community-dwelling people with Alzheimer’s disease.
The increased risk was highest at the initial stages when an antidepressant is used and remains elevated even after four years.
As part of the study, two controls without the disease were matched by age and sex for each person with Alzheimer’s disease.
Antidepressant use was associated with two times higher risk of hip fracture among controls.
It was found that the relative number of hip fractures was higher among people with Alzheimer’s disease compared to the controls.
The increased risk was associated with all of the antidepressant groups most frequently used, which were selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI drugs), mirtazapine and selective noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRI drugs).
The association between antidepressant use and the increased risk of hip fracture still persisted even when the results were adjusted for other medication use.
Antidepressants are used to treat depression, as well as chronic pain and behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia, including insomnia, anxiety and agitation.
Researchers recommend that the medication and necessity of antidepressants should be monitored regularly if their use is essential.
Other risk factors for falling also need to be carefully considered at the time of the antidepressant treatment.
The study was carried out based on the register-based Medalz cohort consisting of data on all persons diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in Finland between 2005 and 2011, and their matched controls.
Approximately 50,491 people with the disease and 100,982 people without the disease were selected for the study and the follow-up was four years from the date of diagnosing the Alzheimer’s disease.