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Caution mixing medications.

Although it isn't possible to guess how many runners use selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)--the very commonly prescribed class of effective antidepressant medications that includes Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa, and others--it's a safe bet that there are many since nationwide their use is so common. It's an even safer bet that there are loads of runners who regularly take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen, as well as many prescription versions, in order to deal with chronic pain or acute running injuries. Some, it is certain, take both drugs simultaneously, with no thought that it might not be wise to do.

Recent research reported in the British Medical Journal has revealed that there may be a very good reason to choose something else for pain management if you are taking SSRIs because taking the two together increases the risk of serious gastrointestinal bleeding. Long known as an important risk factor for NSAIDs (causing 16,000 deaths every year), gastrointestinal bleeding has not been a significant risk factor for the use of SSRIs. The risk of gastrointestinal bleeding is actually quite low for patients taking SSRIs, only one in 1,300 taking the drugs for depression are affected. However, taking SSRIs together with NSAIDs increases the risk by nearly 15 times. That's a lot. This alphabet soup should be avoided.

If you take SSRIs for any reason (they are prescribed for more conditions than just depression), check with your doctor before taking any of the NSAIDs. And never make changes in your SSRI dosages without supervision from the prescribing doctor. Not only can the return of depression symptoms be dramatic, reducing or discontinuing these drugs can cause the development of serious withdrawal syndromes. It is easy to take for granted the safety and efficacy of commonly used medications, but it's important to remember that all drugs have side effects, which can be multiplied when taking more than one medication.

(British Medical Journal, 1999, Vol. 319, pp. 1106-1109; pp. 1081-1082)
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Title Annotation:mixing serotonin reuptake inhibitors and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
Publication:Running & FitNews
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 1, 2000
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Next Article:Chronic pain--when the light at the end of the tunnel dims.

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