ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
New Insights Show Ginseng Fights Inflammation
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Bone Density Predicts Chances of Breast Cancer
Body Fat, Muscle Distribution Linked to RA Disability
Study Shows Exercise Shields Against Osteoporosis
CANCER
Method for Treating Cervical Lesions May Pose Pregnancy Risks
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
Vitamin D May Improve Melanoma Survival
CAREGIVING
Mom's Smoking May Lead to SIDS
Undoing the 'Big Baby' Trend
Tainted China Formula Caused High Rate of Kidney Stones in Kids
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Anemia Rates Down for U.S. Women and Children
Walk 100 Steps a Minute for 'Moderate' Exercise
COSMETIC
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
Health Tip: After Liposuction
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
Health Tip: At Risk for Gingivitis
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
DIABETES
Strict Blood Sugar Lowering Won't Ease Diabetes Heart Risk
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
Fish Twice a Week Cuts Diabetics' Kidney Risks
DIET, NUTRITION
Brown Rice Bests White for Diabetes Prevention
The Raw Food Diet
Vitamin D Vital for the Heart
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Database Helps Assess Your Breast Cancer Risk
Researchers ID Genetic Markers for Esophageal Cancer
Cleaning House May Be Risky for Women With Asthma
EYE CARE, VISION
Kids' Eye Injuries From Golf Clubs Rare But Severe
Kids Think Glasses Make Others Look Smart, Honest
Stem Cells Repair Damaged Corneas in Mice
FITNESS
Football Can Shrink Players
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
Avoiding a Holiday Season of Discontent
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
GENERAL HEALTH
Keep Safety in Mind While Your Kids Are Cooling Off in the Water
Eating Nuts May Help Cholesterol Levels
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Implanted Defibrillators Boost Long-Term Survival
Vitamin B3 May Help Repair Brain After a Stroke
Fatty Fish May Cut Heart Failure Risk in Men
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Quick Orthopedic Repair Can Save Young Shoulders
St. John's Wort Doesn't Work for ADHD
Frequent Feedings May Be Making Babies Fat
MEN'S HEALTH
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Countdown to Hair Loss
MENTAL HEALTH
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
Common Social Groups and Race, Seem to Help People Relate
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
SENIORS
Healthy Diet Could Cut Alzheimer's Disease Risk
15-Point Test Gauges Alzheimer's Risk
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Health Tip: Be More Comfortable During Childbirth
Active Young Women Need Calcium, Vitamin D
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Psychiatric Drugs Might Raise Cardiac Death Risk

By Randy Dotinga
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, May 14 (HealthDay News) -- Preliminary research suggests people who suffered fatal cardiac arrest were more likely to have taken antidepressants and other psychiatric drugs than those who survived heart attacks.

But the findings haven't been confirmed elsewhere, and it's not clear whether the medications directly cause any problems. Those who take the drugs could have other medical issues that contribute to a higher death rate, the researchers noted.

"It is too early to give concrete advice" to patients who take the drugs, said study author Dr. Jussi Honkola, a researcher at the University of Oulu in Finland. "We need further studies about this possible relationship."

In other words, there's no indication that anyone needs to change the drugs that they take for conditions such as depression and anxiety.

At issue is sudden cardiac death -- when someone dies suddenly and unexpectedly, often within minutes, after the heart stops functioning properly. Heart attacks can lead to cardiac arrest and then sudden cardiac death. But heart attacks are technically something else -- the death of heart tissue because blood flow is disrupted.

A variety of conditions can cause sudden cardiac death, including the clogging of arteries caused by coronary heart disease.

And, "despite many years of intensive research we still don't know how to identify people who are at risk for sudden cardiac death," Honkola said.

In the new study, the Finnish researchers examined the medications taken by 321 victims of cardiac death compared with those taken by 609 patients who survived heart attacks.

The findings were to be released Thursday at the Heart Rhythm Society's annual meeting, in Boston.

The study doesn't reveal specifically which psychiatric drugs were examined, but it does say that those who died of cardiac death were more likely to have taken one of three types.

Almost 11 percent of those who suffered sudden cardiac death took antipsychotics, compared to 1.4 percent of those who survived heart attacks. The numbers for antidepressants were 7.4 percent and 3 percent, respectively, and 18.4 percent and 5 percent for benzodiazepines, which include drugs such as Xanax.

Those who survived heart attacks were more likely to take aspirin and the heart drugs known as beta blockers.

The findings "are interesting, even provocative, but much more work remains to be done in order to have a high degree of confidence in the results," said Dr. Robert A. Harrington, director of the Duke Clinical Research Institute in Durham, N.C.

"For now, society should insist upon randomized clinical trials during and after the drug approval process that test therapies in patients who will likely take the drugs in 'real life,'" Harrington said.

That means those who take part in tests of drugs represent those who ultimately take them when it comes to their medical conditions and the other drugs that they're taking, he explained.

More information

Learn more about sudden cardiac death from the American Heart Association.



SOURCES: Jussi Honkola, M.D., researcher, University of Oulu, Finland; Robert A. Harrington, M.D., professor, medicine, Division of Cardiology, and director, Duke Clinical Research Institute, Durham, N.C.; May 14, 2009, presentation, Heart Rhythm Society annual meeting, Boston

Last Updated: May 14, 2009

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