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Recurrent depression and use of antidepressants linked to lower bone density in men

Major depressive disorder and the use of antidepressants is associated with lower bone density in men, a study in Australia has revealed.

Both depression and antidepressants have been negatively associated with bone mineral density (BMD), but mainly in studies among post-menopausal women. The new study investigated the association in men, using data from the Geelong Osteoporosis Study, a large ongoing population-based study in Australia.

Antidepressant use for recurrent major depressive episodes should be considered a potential risk factor for osteoporosis

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Between 2006 and 2011, 928 men aged 24-98 years completed a comprehensive questionnaire and had BMD assessments at the forearm, spine, total hip and total body. Major depressive disorder was identified using a structured clinical interview.

Recurrent major depressive disorder was associated with lower BMD at the forearm and total body (-6.5% and -2.5% respectively, compared to men with no history of major depressive disorder), while single episodes of major depression were associated with higher BMD at the total hip (+3.4%). Antidepressant use was also associated with lower BMD, but only in lower-weight men.

The researchers conclude that recurrent major depressive disorder may increase the risk of osteoporosis in men, and that antidepressant use should be taken into account as a potential risk factor for osteoporosis, especially in lower-weight men.

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