While antidepressants are generally effective in mitigating anxiety and mood disorders, a new pilot study provides a warning on side effects and bone health.
Specifically, researchers believe antidepressants may play a role in dental implant failure.
University of Buffalo researchers found that the use of antidepressants increased the odds of implant failure by four times. Each year of antidepressant use doubled the odds of failure.
Antidepressants are the second most prescribed type of drug in the U.S., with more than one in 10 Americans over the age of 12 using the medications. Antidepressant use has increased 400 percent between the periods 1988-94 and 2005-08, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
While antidepressants can help to manage mood and emotions, a side effect decreases the regulation of bone metabolism, which is crucial to the healing process.
For an implant to heal properly, new bone must form around it to secure it in place, said Sulochana Gurung, lead investigator and a doctor of dental surgery (DDS) candidate.
“Antidepressant medication may relieve depression symptoms and help millions of patients worldwide, however, their benefits must be weighed with the side effects. Patients should cooperate with their physician to reach the right balance,” said Latifa Bairam, D.D.S., M.S., an investigator on the study and clinical assistant professor in the Department of Restorative Dentistry in the University of Buffalo School of Dental Medicine.
“Four of the many known side effects that are reported in the literature are a big concern to us as dentists in regard to oral and bone health.”
Additional side effects of the drug include osteoporosis, a condition in which bones become weak and brittle; akathisia, a disorder characterized by the need to be in constant motion, including the head and jaw; bruxism, or teeth grinding; and dryness of the mouth, all of which affect the implant healing process, says Bairam.
Findings from the research will be presented at the 45th annual American Association for Dental Research conference.
The study began to take shape after the researchers, who have previously studied implant failure, noticed that a growing number of their patients reported use of antidepressant medication.
After analyzing data from the medical charts of University of Buffalo Dental Clinic patients in 2014, the investigators found that of the few patients who experienced implant failures, 33 percent used antidepressants. For patients who did not experience failures, only 11 percent used the drug.
“We decided that the dental community and the world should be aware of this, and that triggered the preparation of the research,” said Sebastiano Andreana, D.D.S., M.S., associate professor and director of implant dentistry.
“The difference between 33 percent and 11 percent is quite remarkable and needs further in-depth analysis.”
The researchers plan to build on the study by retesting their results on a larger scale. For now, they advise those using antidepressants to consult with their physician about the drug’s side effects and alternative methods of managing depression, anxiety, or pain.
Source: University of Buffalo