Popular Antidepressant May Promote Breast Cancer

April 22, 2014

(ANH USA) – Not only may a popular antidepressant promote breast cancer, even worse, it’s frequently prescribed to the most at-risk group: women in their 40s and 50s.

Alliance for Natural Health has warmed of the dangers of SSRIs, an incredibly popular class of antidepressants that can cause violent outbursts—both homicidal and suicidal. But now, researchers have found another alarming side effect: they may promote breast cancer.

Breast Cancer SurvivorAbout 70% of breast cancers are sensitive to estrogen—that is, estrogen contributes to their growth. Recently, researchers have found that paroxetine—the active ingredient in Paxil and Pexeva, some of the most widely prescribed SSRI antidepressants—has an estrogenic effect that likely promotes the development and growth of breast tumors in women.

The same study also identified bisphenol A, or BPA, which we have also warned about, as having estrogenic effects. BPA is found in some plastics, and in particular in the liner of tin cans and on many sales receipts.

In thinking about the breast cancer risk from SSRIs, keep in mind that clinical depression is twice as common in women as it is in men. In fact, one in four women in their 40s and 50s (one in ten Americans overall) now take an antidepressant medication.

As you may recall, last year the FDA approved paroxetine (marketed under the name Brisdelle) as a treatment for hot flashes and menopausal symptoms—despite the fact that the FDA’s own Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee voted 10 to 4 against approval, because the severe side effects associated with SSRIs outweigh the minor benefits. In addition, SSRIs can be highly addictive. Many people struggle to get off them.

The agency touted its decision to approve Brisdelle as an opportunity to provide women with a non-hormonal alternative to synthetic hormone replacement therapy (a common way to treat hot flashes). Why? Because synthetic—but not bioidentical hormone—therapy has been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer as well as heart disease.

Let’s walk through this. The two most important risk factors to developing breast cancer are being female and growing older: the older you get, the more likely you are to get breast cancer. So the FDA has approved a drug that may cause breast cancer for the group most at risk for breast cancer—in the hope of reducing breast cancer.

Is there a link between increased antidepressant use and increased rates of breast cancer? There’s no way to tell without a reputable, long-term study, but it’s not far-fetched to think that these two trends are linked.

You’ll note that the FDA conveniently ignored the safer alternative treatment option for post-menopausal symptoms: natural, bioidentical estriol. In addition, as Dr. Joseph Mercola points out, there are well over 800 references in the medical literature showing vitamin D’s effectiveness against cancer. Most recently, a meta-analysis of five studies published in the March 2014 issue of Anticancer Research found that patients diagnosed with breast cancer who had high vitamin D levels were twice as likely to survive compared to women with low levels. Moreover, high levels of vitamin D in conventional medicine is not really high by integrative medicine standards. Conventional medicine considers ng/ml blood levels of 30-100 to be safe. To prevent cancer and other health hazards, there is considerable evidence that levels need to be above 60 while still below 100.

For more about breast cancer and its diagnosis, see other articles in this issue.