The Pros and Cons of Taking Antidepressants for Alzheimer’s

A new study suggests that a certain type of antidepressant may prevent Alzheimer’s disease. While the results of the study are certainly promising there is more work to be done before the antidepressant will be prescribed for Alzheimer’s prevention. Learn more about the pros and cons of taking an antidepressant for Alzheimer’s and why some scientists are hesitant to prescribe them.

The Pros and Cons of Taking Antidepressants for Alzheimer's

How Antidepressants Work

An antidepressant is a drug used to treat depression and other conditions ranging from anxiety disorders to attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). There are several classes of antidepressants and each class uses a different method to treat the patient. However, most antidepressants work by changing the activity of neurotransmitters in the brain to achieve the desired balance. A new study suggests that one type of antidepressant has the potential to prevent Alzheimer’s by driving down the production of beta-amyloid proteins, a protein commonly thought to cause the disease.

Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease with Antidepressants

A recent study by the University of Pennsylvania and Washington University Medical School found that the antidepressant citalopram lowered the production of beta amyloid proteins in both mice and in healthy humans. Results were published in the Science Translational Medicine journal. The antidepressant, commonly known as Celexa, reduced the production of beta-amyloid proteins by 38% over a 28 day regimen.

This study could potentially be groundbreaking when it comes to preventing Alzheimer’s. The good news for those at risk for the disease is that Celexa is:

  • Widely used and accessible
  • Simple to take
  • Relatively inexpensive

A Word of Caution

While study results are certainly promising, some scientists are cautioning against using antidepressants to prevent Alzheimer’s. Dr. Lon Schneider, Alzheimer’s specialist at the University of Southern California says that it is too early to recommend anyone begin taking Celexa to prevent Alzheimer’s.

Before rushing out to get your prescription there are a few things to keep in mind:

Would you take an antidepressant like Celexa to prevent Alzheimer’s? Why or why not? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

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Please leave your thoughts and comments

  • marinyx

    I can no longer trust the “results” of pharmacological trials. It seems every time I go to the doctor’s, they want to add another pill. I am considering not taking any more medications because of this. Name the poison, it helps one thing and causes another problem.

  • Marjorie Mudd

    If Celexa could prevent me from getting Alzheimer’s , I certainly would try it ,if not significant results, I would go back to the one that works best for me .

    • Lorraine L.

      My mom has been on Celexa for many years and she is in a nursing home due to 3rd stage alzheimers.

      • Peggy clements

        Interesting, would like to hear more personal experiences concerning people using ssris and development of Alzheimer’s.

  • Karen

    I just read that Celexa is on the list of drugs that are “anti-cholinergic”. This may cause
    mild cognitive impairment. Now I don’t know what to believe!

  • Bert Griffin

    My mother who was in a secure memory facility was prescribed citalopram for depression. Her cognition improved and she was able to move to an assisted living facility. After a few months, her memory worsened again, but she didn’t have the accompanying sadness as before.

  • Bryana Beecham

    My mother (diagnosed with Alzheimer’s three years ago) was put on Celexa a year ago to see if it would help with her depression. It didn’t seem to do much; talk therapy, meditation and compassion worked better. It seems to me that any sane person would be depressed upon receiving a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, so maybe we shouldn’t be jumping to drugs, especially when we don’t know what’s going on in the brain of these people, which is where antidepressants do their stuff. We recently titrated her off, if only because all drugs have side effects. She is experiencing some increased confusion as a result of cessation, but otherwise fine.

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