7.  Bone Loss and Antidepressants! - Bad Company

By Thomas J. Haverbush, M.D.

Transforming patient information into patient understanding.

Millions upon millions of Americans have osteoporosis. I heard a good description of osteoporosis one time that goes like this.

Think Studies have shown that 20% of older patients suffer from depression. Depression is not in itself a normal part of aging. The rate of depression increases to 50% among patients living in nursing homes.

What does this have to do with Orthopaedic Surgery you ask?

Answer: A lot! Read on.

A troubling association is present between depression, a type of drug used to treat depression and increased fractures and bone loss. This is a very unhappy triangle.


Antidepressant drugs in this class of antidepressant medication insure that the brain gets enough Serotonin, which can improve your mood and overall health. The five antidepressant drugs in this class are Lexapro, Zoloft, Paxil, Prozac and Celexa. These drugs have always been known to have side effects in some patients. Nausea, dizziness, fatigue and headaches.

Side Effects on Bones

Several large studies in the last five years have indicated that there is a significant decrease in bone density and an increased risk of fracture in older patients.....

.... who take these drugs. This includes not only vertebral (spine) fractures, but fractures in other parts of the body also.


First of all let me say that everyone who takes one of these antidepressants does not automatically get bone loss. You and your doctor have to weigh the benefits against the risks.

Your doctor might want to give you an antidepressant drug in a different class than the five mentioned if there is concern about bone loss. There are at least 2 other classes of antidepressants that do not cause bone loss that your doctor can choose from.

What You Can Do

To increase bone density and strength:

Get 2000 i.u. of Vitamin D per day

Get 1,500mg of Calcium per day from food and supplements

Engage in some type of weight bearing exercise each day for 30 minutes if possible. Walking is the best weight bearing exercise.

Don’t smoke

Limit alcohol to no more than 2 drinks per day

Hopefully, this sounds really familiar if you have been reading my articles!

Just Do It

Researchers will continue to investigate the connection between bone loss, fractures and antidepressants. You need to take the initiative and protect yourself with Calcium and Vitamin.....

.... D and any other medication your doctor prescribes to promote bone health. Add to this daily exercise, moderate alcohol intake and no smoking.

My patients put their trust in me and what I do improves the quality of their lives.

Lakeview Times Orthopaedic Zone

All Orthopaedic Surgery problems including this week’s subject can be evaluated by Dr. Haverbush at his office.

315 Warwick Drive

Alma, Michigan 48801

Phone 989-463-6092

Office is across the street from Gratiot Medical Center.

Please call to make an appointment usually the same week you call.

Attention!! Besides what you read today there is a huge amount of musculoskeletal information on the office website www.orthopodsurgeon.com. Please check it out.

Be well.

Dr. Haverbush

Click to rate the article