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SSRI Antidepressants May Increase Risk Of Developing Cataracts.

The Los Angeles Times (6/1, Maugh) “Booster Shots” blog reported that, according to a study published in the June issue of the journal Ophthalmology, “the family of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, increases the risk of developing cataracts by about 15%, but some members of the family produce a higher risk.” Researchers, in a study of “18,784 cataract patients and 187,840 healthy controls over the age of 65,” found that “fluvoxamine (Luvox) increases the risk by 39%, venlafaxine (Effexor) increases the risk by 33%, and paroxetine (Paxil) increases the risk by 23%.”
HealthDay (6/1, Mozes) reported that “rising risk was only associated with the current use of such medications, not prior use, the authors noted.” Moreover, the investigators “observed that not all antidepressants appeared to be linked to an increased risk for cataracts, although they noted that the lack of an association was not definitive proof that there is in fact no risk.” The study’s lead author explained, “The eye’s lens has serotonin receptors, and animal studies have shown that excess serotonin can make the lens opaque and lead to cataract formation.”