July 24, 2014
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Study: Breast cancer risk not affected by antidepressant

A class of medications used by millions to treat depression does not appear to increase the odds of developing breast cancer as previously reported, according to a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Researchers examining an association between breast cancer and the class of medications known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) did not find the risk was elevated for women taking the medication regularly. The antidepressants examined included fluoxetine, sertraline and paroxetine.

"Odds ratios were not elevated for any specific SSRI," the authors note in the study. "Our data provide some assurance that the use of SSRIs, even for 4 or more years, does not increase the risk of breast cancer."

Investigators looked at data on over 2,100 women with primary invasive breast cancer and nearly 2,900 women with nonmalignant diagnoses between 1988 and 2002.

"Regular use of SSRIs was not associated with breast cancer risk after adjustment for other risk factors," the investigators report. "Monitoring of longer term use will be worthwhile if it becomes apparent that an appreciable number of women remain on these commonly used medications for decades."


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