Studies have identified potential health problems from staying on antidepressants long-term, such as:
- Increased risk of developing osteoporosis4
- Increased risk of bleeding4
- Negative effects on the liver5
- Increased risk of cataracts5
- Increased risk of cardiovascular disease6
- Increased risk of an early death4
- Some antidepressants have been associated with an increased risk of dementia7
- The longer you use an antidepressant also increases the likelihood of withdrawal symptoms when the dose is reduced or stopped8
Tolerance or “poop-out” also may occur from long-term antidepressant use. This brings on a gradual need to increase the dose of their medication over time, with less and less effect.9
Some studies suggest long-term use of antidepressants can cause low mood, possibly due to extended drug effects on the brain.10
4. Coupland, Carol, Paula Dhiman, Richard Morriss, Antony Arthur, Garry Barton, and Julia Hippisley-Cox. 2011. “Antidepressant Use and Risk of Adverse Outcomes in Older People: Population Based Cohort Study.” BMJ 343 (aug02 1).
5. Carvalho, André F., Manu S. Sharma, André R. Brunoni, Eduard Vieta, and Giovanni A. Fava. 2016. “The Safety, Tolerability and Risks Associated with the Use of Newer Generation Antidepressant Drugs: A Critical Review of the Literature.” Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics 85 (5): 270–88.
6. Bansal, Narinder, Mohammed Hudda, Rupert A. Payne, Daniel J. Smith, David Kessler, and Nicola Wiles. 2022. “Antidepressant Use and Risk of Adverse Outcomes: Population-Based Cohort Study.” BJPsych Open 8 (5): e164.
7. Richardson, Kathryn, Chris Fox, Ian Maidment, Nicholas Steel, Yoon K. Loke, Antony Arthur, Phyo K. Myint, et al. 2018. “Anticholinergic Drugs and Risk of Dementia: Case-Control Study.” BMJ 361 (April): k1315.
8. Horowitz, M. A., Adele Framer, Michael P. Hengartner, Anders Sorensen, and David M. Taylor. 2022. “Estimating Risk of Withdrawal from a Review of Published Data (Accepted manuscript - CNS Drugs).”
9. Kinrys, Gustavo, Alexandra K. Gold, Vincent D. Pisano, Marlene P. Freeman, George I. Papakostas, David Mischoulon, Andrew A. Nierenberg, and Maurizio Fava. 2019. “Tachyphylaxis in Major Depressive Disorder: A Review of the Current State of Research.” Journal of Affective Disorders 245 (October 2018): 488–97.
10. El-Mallakh, Rif S., Yonglin Gao, Brian T. Briscoe, and R. Jeannie Roberts. 2011. “Antidepressant-Induced Tardive Dysphoria.” Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics 80 (1): 57–59.