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Cardiovascular Effects of Antidepressants and Mood Stabilizers

Author(s): Javad Maleki | Shahin Akhondzadeh

Journal: Journal of Tehran University Heart Center
ISSN 1735-8620

Volume: 2;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 133;
Date: 2007;
Original page

Keywords: Cardiovascular side effects | Cardiotoxicity | Lithium | SSRIs | TCA

"n Depression is a serious disorder in today’s society, with the estimates of lifetime prevalence being as high as 21% of the general population in some developed countries. As defined by the American Psychiatric Association, depression is a heterogeneous disorder often manifested with symptoms at the psychological, behavioral, and physiological levels. Such patients are often reluctant to take synthetic antidepressants in their appropriate doses due to their anticipated side effects including inability to drive a car, dry mouth, constipation, and sexual dysfunction. As a therapeutic alternative, effective herbal drugs may offer advantages in terms of safety and tolerability, possibly also improving patient compliance. The advent of the first antidepressants, Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs) and Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCAs), in the 1950s and 1960s represented a dramatic leap forward in the clinical management of depression. The subsequent development of the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) and the Serotonin Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitor (SNRI) venlafaxine in the past decade and a half has greatly enhanced the treatment of depression by offering patients medications that are as effective as the older agents but are generally more tolerable and safer in an overdose. The introduction of atypical antidepressants, such as bupropion, nefazadone, and mirtazapine, has added substantially to the available pharmacopoeia for depression. Nonetheless, rates of remission tend to be low and the risk of relapse and recurrence remains high. One of the concerns regarding the safety of antidepressant is its potential risk of cardiotoxicity and cardiovascular side effects. In this review, we will focus on the cardiovascular side effects of different types of antidepressants.

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