Can Antidepressants Really Cause A Heat Stroke In The Summer?

I don’t find out about you, however I preserve seeing social media posts about antidepressants rising the danger of warmth stroke. In treatment commercials, you hear an extended listing of negative effects, however so many appear uncommon. Is that this one thing we must be nervous about?

As a proud person of Prozac, I figured this was price trying out, so I spoke with specialists about whether or not antidepressants actually trigger points with warmth throughout the summer time months.

How can antidepressants improve your threat of warmth stroke?

Mainly, antidepressants can have an effect on your physique’s potential to manage your temperature and may contribute to dehydration, which might result in a warmth stroke.

“Antidepressants can impair the temperature regulation area of the brain, i.e., hypothalamus,” stated Dr. Markus Ploesser, a psychiatrist and chief innovation officer at Open Thoughts Well being. “They can also increase sweating, thus contributing to dehydration.”

Your physique may additionally lose water as your sodium ranges lower due to the treatment. “Certain antidepressants — most notably mood-stabilizing antidepressants used to treat bipolar depression — can cause lower sodium levels, making the body lose more water and increase dehydration,” Ploesser added.

In the summer time months, you’re most likely already feeling scorching and dehydrated, which doesn’t mix nicely with these negative effects. And if you happen to turn into dehydrated and may’t sweat sufficient or drink sufficient water, your temperature rises, which might result in a warmth stroke.

Indicators of a warmth stroke embrace having a temperature above 103 levels Fahrenheit, dry pores and skin, not sweating, a fast pulse, a headache, nausea, dizziness, confusion and unconsciousness, based on the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention.

Guido Mieth through Getty Photographs

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs could improve your likelihood of getting overheated, so it is essential to take the right preventative steps.

Which antidepressants carry essentially the most threat?

Some professionals lean extra towards one form of antidepressant than one other — so it’s most likely secure to say most or all of them carry some dangers.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, “can increase sweat output, therefore putting patients at higher risk of heat stroke,” stated Shaili Gandhi, the vp of pharmacy at SingleCare. Some frequent SSRIs embrace model names Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa, Lexapro and Paxil.

Reema Hammoud, a medical pharmacist at Sedgwick, believes there’s a riskier sort, although. “Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, such as sertraline and paroxetine, can cause hyperhidrosis and stroke, but the risk is a lot lower compared to older agents such as tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs),” Hammoud stated. She defined “hyperhidrosis” is the flowery phrase for “excessive sweating.” Some examples of TCAs embrace Pamelor, Elavil and Anafranil.

Ploesser agreed, including different treatment sorts that trigger concern, too. “Medications which increase norepinephrine brain levels are also at an increased risk, e.g., Effexor, Wellbutrin. Lithium and some antipsychotic medications used to treat depression also have an elevated risk,” he stated.

How probably is the possibility you’ll expertise a warmth stroke?

As with most or all well being situations and negative effects, some persons are extra prone than others. So, let’s be actual: Is a warmth stroke probably? Who must be most conscious of this potential aspect impact?

To start out, older people. “While everyone needs to be careful to avoid dehydration and heat stroke, the risks are relatively higher among older adults as they often metabolize and excrete medications at slower rates,” Ploesser stated. “Older adults, in general, are also more likely to be on a greater number of medications for their physical and mental health concerns, and polypharmacy is also a significant risk factor.”

Gandhi stated blood stress medicines are one sort that may trigger notably excessive dangers. She added being exterior within the solar and warmth doesn’t assist, both. “Depending on your treatment, it may be best to avoid being outside in high heat altogether, and it’s worth consulting your doctor,” she stated.

Moreover, think about different negative effects you’re experiencing. “There is research that suggests about 20% of those taking antidepressants experience excessive sweating as a side effect,” Gandhi stated. “So for those people, the risk of heat stroke is even higher, and therefore, they should take extra precautions when considering being outside in high temperatures.”

Hammoud shared a 2020 research that discovered 22% of individuals taking antidepressants skilled a sudden warmth stroke associated to hormone dysregulation. Nonetheless, it’s not fairly that straightforward or one thing to be overly involved about, per se.

“Although several observational studies suggest that SSRIs are associated with new onset stroke, many randomized trials indicate that SSRIs are beneficial for patients who have suffered a stroke,” Hammoud stated. “Most evidence suggests that SSRIs do not increase the risk of death in patients with strokes.”

Staying hydrated, especially outdoors, is key to reducing the risk of heat stroke.

Igor Alecsander through Getty Photographs

Staying hydrated, particularly outdoor, is vital to lowering the danger of warmth stroke.

How are you going to keep away from a warmth stroke?

The finest methods to shield your self from a warmth stroke are fairly easy. Ploesser really helpful consuming extra water (try these useful hacks for doing so!), limiting drinks that worsen dehydration (comparable to caffeine and alcohol), avoiding the warmth and sticking to the shade when attainable.

Gandhi stated even if you happen to don’t really feel thirsty, consuming water is essential. She steered speaking to your physician about the most effective plan of action, whether or not or not that features some changes.

“For psychiatric medications, including antidepressants, the dosage is very important and it can take some trial and error between patient and doctor to find the right dose,” she stated. “So, it’s important to talk to your doctor when you know you’re going on vacation or plan to be in the sun for prolonged periods of time. Your doctor might advise limiting or avoiding sun exposure rather than adjusting the dosages of your medication.”

You too can make easy adjustments like consuming chilly meals with excessive fluid content material (comparable to sure fruit and veggies, or a salad) and sporting free, light-weight garments, Hammoud suggested. And if you happen to prefer to train exterior, think about “exercise snacking,” aka shorter and extra frequent exercises, so that you don’t get too scorching without delay.

Whereas the truth that antidepressants can have critical negative effects, comparable to warmth strokes, is usually a big bummer at finest, doing what it’s worthwhile to do in your psychological well being is essential, too. Set your self up by consuming water, staying within the shade and checking in together with your physician.