SSRIs disrupt sleep in the elderly, may contribute to dementia

A literature review has drawn a link between antidepressants—SSRIs, in particular—and problems in older patients.

A literature review has drawn a link between antidepressants—SSRIs, in particular—and problems in older patients. An analysis of 10 studies published in the last 5 years suggested that the drugs can not only trigger sleep disruptions in people aged 50 years and older but also elevate the risk for REM (rapid eye movement) disorders, which may predict future neurodegeneration. The results indicate that "we should be careful about using SSRIs in the elderly population and not underestimate the effectiveness of psychotherapy and other holistic care approaches for the elderly," said lead researcher Muhammad Tahir, MD, of SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY. The findings were reported at the Institute of Psychiatric Services (IPS): The Mental Health Services 2016 Conference.