Study finds antidepressant use increases hip fracture risk among patients with Alzheimer’s disease


The findings of a study conducted by the University of Eastern Finland suggested that antidepressant usage increases the risk of hip fracture in patients with Alzheimer’s disease residing in a community.

Antidepressants are used to treat depression, as well as indicated to treat chronic pain and behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia, including insomnia, anxiety and agitation, all characterisations of Alzheimer’s disease.

The study was based on the register-based MEDALZ cohort built on data derived from community-dwelling people with Alzheimer’s disease in Finland between 2005-2011 and their matched controls.

It enrolled 50,491 people with the disease and 100,982 people without who had a mean age of 80.

"Researchers have recommended monitoring the medication and its necessity of use on a regular basis."

Incidents of hip fractures were mostly observed in the group who frequently used antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI drugs), mirtazapine and selective noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRI drugs).

The risk of hip fracture was calculated as higher at the beginning of antidepressant use and remained at a higher level after four years.

The effect of antidepressants usage persisted, causing incidences of fall, osteoporosis, socioeconomic status, history of psychiatric diseases, and chronic diseases, which further increased the risk of fall or fracture.

Researchers have recommended monitoring the medication and its necessity of use on a regular basis.

Additionally, while patients are being administered with antidepressants, the caregivers are advised to monitor other risk factors for falling.