University of Haifa-Led International Study Reveals Antidepressants May Raise Risk of Dementia in People Over 60

Jul 1, 2019 | Aging, Antidepressants, CNS, Dementia

Antidepressants May Raise Risk of Dementia

Results from a University of Haifa-led study reveal that use of antidepressants may increase the risk of dementia for those 60 and over.

The study led researchers to conclude that antidepressant usage increased the risk of dementia by 3.43% among those aged 60 and over compared to peers unexposed to the medication.  The Israel-based research team published the study results in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

Dementia, a thus far incurable neurodegenerative disease, is characterized by impairment and cognitive deterioration.  Researchers predict the number of cases to increase up to a doubling of current numbers by 2040.

An international team led by University of Haifa reveals that exposure among older people appears to be associated with a growing incidence of dementia.

The Study

An international team, including University of Haifa, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, Karolinska Institute and Jönköping University in Sweden as well as the Nicoisa Medical School in Cypress studied 71,515 participants over the age of 60 not diagnosed with dementia during the period of 2001 to 2012.  The team examined from a historical perspective to identify where any incident of dementia developed from 2013 to 2017.

The Results

Study results evidence that 3,688 participants exposed to antidepressant medications, 11% (407) developed dementia, while 2.6% (1,768) developed dementia out of a total of 67,827 participants not exposed to antidepressants.

The team applied advanced statistical analysis and revealed that antidepressant exposure was significantly associated with a 3.43 increased risk of dementia.

Lead Research/Investigator

Professor Stephen Levine, University of Haifa

Dr. Anat Rotstein, University of Haifa


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