Parkinson’s Risk Linked to Cymbalta, Celexa, Similar Antidepressants: Study

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New research suggests that the side effects of some antidepressants, such as Zoloft, Celexa and Cymbalta, may increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease. 

In a study published in the August 2018 edition of the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, researchers from the University of British Columbia say there appears to be a link between a number of popular antidepressants, Parkinson’s disease and extrapyramidal symptoms (EPS).

According to the findings, the associations were found with the use of Celexa, Cymbalta, Remeron, Lexapro, Paxil, Zoloft, Effexor, Zyban, Wellbutrin, and Prozac.

“Antidepressants are one of the most prescribed classes of medications. A number of case reports have linked these drugs to extrapyramidal symptoms (EPSs), but no large epidemiologic study to date has examined this association,” the researchers noted. “We sought to quantify the association of EPSs with different antidepressants by undertaking a large pharmacoepidemiologic study.”

Researchers conducted a nested case-control study using data from June 2006 through December 2015, collected by a large claims database in the U.S. They found 3,838 subjects with EPSs and compared them to 38,380 age-matched control subjects.

The findings indicate that side effects of Cymbalta had the strongest association, with users seeing a risk of Parkinson’s disease and EPSs five times higher than those who did not take the drug. Remeron, Celexa, Lexapro and Paxil carried more than three times the risk. The risks with the rest of the drugs listed were more than doubled.

The effect was not seen throughout all antidepressants, however. Atamet, Requip, Mirapex and a number of others showed no significant association.

The researchers say that the findings show a harmful association between the incidence of Parkinson’s disease or associated EPSs, which can include movement disorders like tardive dyskinesia.

Some previous studies have indicated that the side effects of some antipsychotics and amphetamines could also increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease. The condition cannot be cured and more than 200,000 new cases are diagnosed in the United States every year.

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