Data from a recent study investigating selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) has associated the use of SSRI antidepressants to upper gastrointestinal bleeding (GI), with the risks for bleeding increasing for the user after just seven days of use.

Researchers from the National Yang-Ming University in Taipei, Taiwan investigated a group of 5,377 patients with upper GI bleeding. The study concluded that SSRIs that were taken short-term, particularly the brands Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa, Paxil, and Lexapro, were associated with causing elevated risks of upper GI bleeding in users by comparing antidepressant use rates in time increments of 7, 14, and 28 days.

Lead investigator of the SSRI study, Ching-Liang, MD, stated that data linking SSRIs to risks of upper GI bleeding were “consistent with previous studies” as “SSRIs were the only antidepressants found to have [an] increased risk of upper GI bleeding”, Medscape Medical News reported. The recent study was published in early September in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Nevertheless, the Yang Ming study casts yet another shadow on the safety of SSRIs, as the drugs have also been linked by previous studies to causing birth defects. Further, a study by researchers at Sweden’s’ Karolinska Institute found that taking an SSRI while pregnant was linked to an increased risk of the baby developing neonatal pulmonary hypertension (PPHN).  Later, the risk of PPHN was added as a warning to all labels in the entire class of SSRIs.

“Prescribed widely to America, SSRIs are marketed to ‘balance the unbalance’. However, what many women don’t realize is the detrimental effects SSRIs can have on a developing baby in the womb, as the drug can cause serious birth defects and complications such as heart defects and cleft palate,” comment Kimberly Lambert Adams, a lawyer with the Levin, Papantonio law firm who specializes in SSRI litigation.

SSRI drugs include brands Celexa, Zoloft, Paxil, Paxil CR, Lexapro, Luvox, Luvox CR, Prozac, and Sarafem.  SSRIs are used to treat a number of psychological disorders, including major depressive disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorder, anxiety, bulimia nervosa, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).

Krysta is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire. Follow her on Twitter @KrystaLoera.