Don’t pop antidepressants if you suffer from lung disease, here’s why


Antidepressant drugs can cause sleepiness, vomiting and impact immune system cells.

Antidepressants may help to boost your mood but they can prove risky for patients of lung disease. A new study done by the St Michael’s Hospital shows that use of antidepressants can increase the risk of death by 20% for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and increase the likelihood of hospitalisation by 15% due to related symptoms.

The research suggests that among adults with COPD, new users of serotonergic antidepressants have higher rates of hospitalisation, emergency room visits, and mortality related to respiratory conditions, as well as death overall versus non-users of the medication. While the study does not show cause and effect, it suggested a strong association.

Antidepressants can lead to respiratory issues and infections. (Shutterstock)

“We were not surprised by these findings, as there are biological reasons why antidepressants could lead to respiratory issues,” said lead author Nicholas Vozoris. “These drugs can cause sleepiness, vomiting and can negatively impact immune system cells. It increases likelihood of infections, breathing issues, and other respiratory adverse events, especially in patients with COPD.”

Vozoris said that using these results as a base, physicians should give thought to psychotherapy and pulmonary rehabilitation as non-drug related treatment for depression. The study appears in the European Respiratory Journal.

Consuming antidepressants could increase risk of bone fractures. (Istock )

Here’s what some of the other studies on antidepressants indicate:

* A study led by researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago shows that people who suffer from panic disorder are more vulnerable to the side effects of antidepressants than others.

* A large study done by researchers from the University of East Anglia’s School of Health Science have linked use of antidepressants to dementia, though they could not definitively conclude that the drugs were the cause.

* Researchers from the University of Nebraska Medical Centre found that consuming opioids and anti-depressants could increase the risk of developing bone fractures among people who are already suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.