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Antidepressants taken by millions ‘significantly increase dementia risk’

Some antidepressants may be linked to dementia (Getty)

Antidepressants taken daily by millions in Britain may increase the risk of dementia in later life, experts have warned.

A large-scale study published in the Briitsh Medical Journal found a ‘robust link’ between the degenerative disease and long-term use of several common antidepressant drugs.

There could be up to 20,000 people suffering from dementia as a result of antidepressants, the researchers warned – and symptoms may appear even when the drugs were taken 20 years previously.

Some patients exposed to the drugs long-term may face a 30% increased risk of dementia.

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The findings refer to ‘anticholinergenic’ drugs, which include common drugs such as Amitriptyline, Dosulepin and Paroxetine, taken by up to two million people in the UK.

Chris Fox, Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at UEA’s Norwich Medical School said, ‘Doctors and patients should therefore be vigilant about using anticholinergic medications.

‘They need to consider the risk of long-term cognitive effects, as well as short-term effects associated with specific drugs when weighing up risks and benefits.’