Two contrasting news stories about antidepressants have caught my eye this week.
The first relates to epilepsy and sudden death syndrome. Certain antidepressants, called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) may reduce the risk of Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP), according to research published in the journal Epilepsy & Behavior.
Like most trials, the study was not conducted using people (for ethical reasons, but by using mice. The study found that semi-chronic (five-day) treatment with fluoxetine was effective at preventing sudden death in the DBA/1 mice SUDEP model in doses that did not suppress the seizures. However, the effect was temporary, and susceptibility to sudden death returned one-to-three days after fluoxetine treatment.
The research will continue to explore the effects and will aim at trying to establish longer and more effective treatments. One day, the research may be applied to human subjects.
The second news swtroy relates to hip surgery. Here, different research has shown that patients who are taking antidepressants up to three years prior to undergoing a total hip replacement (THR) are more likely to report greater pain before and after surgery and less satisfaction with their procedure. This research was reported by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).
The implications of the research are that a patient's mental health status should be assessed prior to surgery and taken into consideration during post-operative care.