Exploring the depression-bone connection

A new study finds that antidepressant use doubles fracture risk. Other research points to links between depression and bone loss.

Most of us can tick off the major risk factors for osteoporosis: age, gender, race, family history, smoking, inactivity, low body weight, and inadequate calcium and vitamin D. Depression isn't on the list, but some evidence suggests that it should be. In particular, a study in the Jan. 22, 2007, Archives of Internal Medicine found that people ages 50 and over who regularly took the widely prescribed antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) had double the rate of fractures as people not using such medications. Other research points to depression itself as a source of endocrine changes that can damage bone.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »