It could kill you, suddenly and without warning.
That is what Dr. William Whang and his colleagues concluded after studying almost 64,000 Nurses Health Study questionnaires started from 1992-2000.
They found that 7.9% of study participants had a Mental Health Inventory-5 (MHI-5) score under 53, indicating depression. They found a direct association between this and coronary heart disease (CHD) events, often resulting in death.
This was true whether or not the patient was taking antidepressants, and Whang wants to study this. It's possible, he wrote, that those taking antidepressants just had more severe depression. Or it could be that antidepressants lead to sudden cardiac death (SCD). He doesn't know.
This did not stop HealthDay from making the link. And it didn't stop Natural News from writing the headline. "Antidepressants linked to sudden death in women."
Deborah Kesten of EmpowerHer noted there are many possible reasons for the link. Depressed people may smoke more, eat more, stop exercising, and stop obsessing over their blood glucose levels. Might as well claim that Ben & Jerry's is linked to sudden death in women.
The study does raise a question about antidepressants and heart disease, but it does not prove the case. It means people with depression need closer medical supervision than they are now getting, perhaps more cooperation between the psychiatric and medical professions.
To cry "antidepressants kill" off this evidence is pure malpractice. But if a friend of yours has a broken heart, you have a right to be concerned about more than their state of mind.