Antidepressants cut cancer risk? Word from a large study out of England says yes. The study published in the British Journal of Cancer states that antidepressants known as tricyclic antidepressants were seen to quite significantly reduce the risk of brain and bowel cancer. A common type of brain cancer called glioma saw a reduction of almost two-thirds in those that took tricyclic antidepressants. Tricyclic antidepressants include amoxapine, nortriptyline and trimipramine and are commonly prescribed for OCD, ADHD and migraines, as well as depression.
The data also showed that those taking these tricyclic antidepressants, especially long-term users and at a fairly high dose were at a 16 to 20 percent reduced rate of getting bowel cancer. About 7 percent of Americans can expect to get bowel cancer in their lifetimes.
It’s almost certain antidepressants won’t be prescribed to the population at large to protect against cancer due to their side effects, most importantly their sedative effect; but these drugs could help those that are strongly genetically predisposed to these types of cancer.
This news comes on the heels of other good news about antidepressants. There is some promising news in the field of stroke therapy now that an international team of researchers report that antidepressants may not only relieve depression but actually improve recovery from disability a year after a stroke. The new study found that just three months of treatment with the common antidepressant medications fluoxetine and nortriptyline not only relieved depressive symptoms when measured nine months later, but appeared to improve patients’ physical conditions as well. The results raise the possibility that these medications might aid recovery through a mechanism independent of their antidepressant effects.