HealthDay News — Women prescribed selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) to ease menopausal symptoms may face a long-term rise in their risk for bone fracture, a new study suggests. The findings was published online in Injury Prevention.

Matthew Miller, MD, MPH, ScD, of Northeastern University in Boston, and colleagues examined data from the PharMetrics Claims Database, which collects information on drug treatments involving roughly 61 million patients nationally.

In this case, investigators specifically focused on 137,031 women between the ages of 40 and 64, all of whom began SSRI treatment, which is primarily used as a depression therapy, at some point between 1998 and 2010. The SSRI group was compared with more than 236,294 other women who had been prescribed indigestion medications instead of an SSRI.

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The researchers found that women in the SSRI group faced a 76% higher risk for fracture after a single year of SSRI use, compared with the non-SSRI group. That figure fell only slightly over time: to 73% after two years and 67% after five years.

“SSRIs appear to increase fracture risk among middle-aged women without psychiatric disorders, an effect sustained over time, suggesting that shorter duration of treatment may decrease fracture risk,” the authors write. “Future efforts should examine whether this association pertains at lower doses.”

SSRIs are primarily used in the treatment of depression


Miller M, et al. SSRI use and risk of fractures among perimenopausal women without mental disorders. Inj Prev. 2015; doi:10.1136/injuryprev-2014-041483.