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April 7, 2012 | By Kim Murphy, Los Angeles Times
SEATTLE - U.S. Air Force pilot Patrick Burke's day started in the cockpit of a B-1 bomber near the Persian Gulf and proceeded across nine time zones as he ferried the aircraft home to South Dakota. Every four hours during the 19-hour flight, Burke swallowed a tablet of Dexedrine, the prescribed amphetamine known as "go pills. " After landing, he went out for dinner and drinks with a fellow crewman. They were driving back to Ellsworth Air Force Base when Burke began striking his friend in the head.
March 5, 2012 | By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
Some women with depression who become pregnant face a troubling decision: whether to continue taking antidepressant medication to keep the depression at bay even though the medications may harm the fetus. The latest on a series of studies on this issue, published Monday in the Archives of General Psychiatry, shows benefits and risks to continuing medication during pregnancy and concludes that more study is needed on the topic. As many as 6% of pregnant women take antidepressants.
February 6, 2012 | By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
In 2004, the Food and Drug Administration announced that antidepressant packages should carry a "black box" warning describing an increased risk of suicide and suicidal thoughts in children and youths up to age 25. The FDA action triggered a significant decline in antidepressant use among children and teens. Now, however, an analysis suggests there is no reason to believe that antidepressants influence suicidal thinking in kids. The paper, published online Monday in the Archives of General Psychiatry , analyzed data from 41 clinical trials involving more than 9,000 adults and children.
October 19, 2011 | By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
Antidepressants apparently keep a lot of people functional, according to new data from the federal government. The most recent statistics about antidepressant use in the United States, released Wednesday, show 11% of Americans ages 12 and older take the medication. Antidepressants are the most common prescription drug used by people ages 18 to 44. Almost one-quarter of all women ages 40 to 59 take antidepressants. People tend to stick with the medications. More than 60% of those on antidepressants said they had taken it for two years or longer, and 14% had used the pills for 10 years or more.
September 26, 2011
Heart attack patients are sometimes prescribed selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors to treat depression. But if those SSRIs are taken in combination with anti-blood clotting drugs, those patients could be at greater risk for bleeding, a study finds. The study, released Monday in the Canadian Medical Assn. Journal , followed 27,058 patients age 50 and older for a decade. The patients had all been diagnosed with acute myocardial infarction, otherwise known as a heart attack.
August 4, 2011 | By Melissa Healy, The Los Angeles Times/For the Booster Shots Blog
Antidepressants, now the third-most commonly prescribed class of drugs in the United States, are routinely offered to patients with vague complaints of fatigue, pain and malaise but who are not classified as suffering from a mental disorder by the physician who recommends the treatment, says a new study. And among primary care provider as well as specialists who are not psychiatrists, the practice of prescribing these medications without diagnosing depression is rising steeply, the study finds.
April 2, 2011 | By Thomas H. Maugh II, Los Angeles Times
Taking antidepressants may raise the risk of heart disease in men by producing a thickening of artery walls, researchers said Saturday. Although a potential mechanism for the action is not obvious, the drugs appear to accelerate atherosclerosis by increasing the thickness of what is known as the intima media, the inner and middle layers of the arteries, particularly the carotid arteries that feed blood to the brain, researchers from Emory University in...
February 23, 2011 | By Mary Forgione, Tribune Health
People suffering from depression usually can find an antidepressant that works for them -- even if they have to try more than one. But how long will the drug continue to work? Here's an online discussion about the long-term effects and other aspects of these drugs. A panel at a live Web chat Thursday (noon EST, 11 a.m. CST, 9 a.m. PST) is to include Dr. John Goethe, director of the IOL Research and Depression Initiative at Hartford Hospital; Dr. Surita Rao, department head for behavioral health at St. Francis Hospital; and Andrew Winokur, director of the Neuropsychopharmacology Treatment, Research and Training Center at the University of Connecticut.
February 21, 2011 | By Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times
A handful of clinical trials are underway across the country to directly assess whether successful depression treatment ? be it medication or some form of supportive therapy ? improves a patient's cardiac prognosis. One was published in December in the New England Journal of Medicine. Conducted by researchers in Washington state, it found that when a nurse acted as a "collaborative care manager" for patients with depression and a host of risk factors for heart disease ? ensuring that they were being treated effectively for all ?
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