Antidepressants Increase the Risk of Implant Failure



The use of antidepressants quadruples the risk of implant failure, with those odds doubling again for each year of antidepressant use, according to research at the University of Buffalo (UB). Implants require new bone to form around them to heal properly, but antidepressants decrease the regulation of bone metabolism.

“Antidepressant medication may relieve depression symptoms and help millions of patients worldwide,” said Latifa Bairam, DDS, MS, an investigator on the study and clinical assistant professor in the department of restorative dentistry at the UB School of Dental Medicine. “However, their benefits must be weighed with the side effects.”

These effects include osteoporosis, akathisia (a disorder characterized by the need to be in constant motion), bruxism, and dry mouth, all of which affect the implant healing process. Bairam began her research after she and her mentor, Sebastiano Andreana, DDS, MS, associate professor and director of implant dentistry, noticed more patients reporting antidepressant use.

Using data from UB Dental Clinic patients in 2014, the researchers found that 33% of patients who experienced implant failures also took antidepressants, while only 11% of patients who did not experience failures used these drugs.

“We decided that the dental community and the world should be aware of this, and that triggered the preparation of the research,” said Andreana. “The difference between 33% and 11% is quite remarkable and needs further in-depth analysis.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one in 10 Americans older than 12 use antidepressants, making it the second most prescribed type of drug in the United States. These numbers also are increasing, with use rising by 400% from 1988 to 1994 and from 2005 to 2008, the CDC reports.

Bairam and her colleagues will retest their results on a larger scale. In the meanwhile, they advise patients who use antidepressants to consult their physicians about their side effects and alternative methods of treatment.

The study, “A Pilot Study: Association Between Antidepressant Use and Implant Failure,” was funded by the Student Research Program through the school of dental medicine’s Dean’s Vision Fund.

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