Link of Depression and Heart Disease

Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) are conducting a study to determine if Wellbutrin and Zoloft, two commonly prescribed anti-depressant medications, may also be effective in reducing a person's risk of coronary heart disease. Findings from a preliminary study reported last year that one of the drugs, Zoloft, has blood-thinning effects, which may help protect patients with depression from heart disease.

January 3, 2000

 

WHAT: Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) are conducting a study to determine if Wellbutrin and Zoloft, two commonly prescribed anti-depressant medications, may also be effective in reducing a person's risk of coronary heart disease. Findings from a preliminary study reported last year that one of the drugs, Zoloft, has blood-thinning effects, which may help protect patients with depression from heart disease.

WHO: Dr. Jerome Markovitz, assistant professor of preventive medicine at UAB is principal investigator for the study.

WHEN: The study will enroll 270 volunteers over the next four years to participate in the study for eight weeks. Volunteers must be experiencing symptoms of depression and must not have coronary heart disease to be eligible.

BACKGROUND:

The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, will provide researchers with a better understanding of the link between depression and heart disease and may lead to more effective treatments. "People who are depressed are more likely to get heart disease, and those who get heart disease are more likely to die from it if there is a history of depression," says Markovitz.

Volunteers enrolled in the study will receive one of the anti-depressant medications or a placebo, and researchers will measure their platelet activity. Platelets are blood cells involved in blood clotting. "Increased platelet activity and higher levels of blood-clotting activity may be one reason patients with depression are at higher risk for heart disease," says Markovitz.

For more information call (205) 934-2374