Journal of Osteoporosis and Physical Activity

Journal of Osteoporosis and Physical Activity
Open Access

ISSN: 2329-9509


Preliminary Study: The Relationship between Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors and Bone Health and Muscle Function in College Students

Molly Gile BS, Lauren Conway BS, Michael Smith and Patricia Fehling

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI) are prescribed to treat anxiety and depression disorders by altering levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Research has demonstrated that these medications negatively impact bone health in adults over the age of 30 years by affecting the activity of osteoblasts, yet the effects have not been studied in college-aged adults. The purpose of this preliminary study was to describe the relationship between SSRIs and bone health and muscle function in college-aged students. Nine SSRI users were matched with nine non-users for physical activity level, nutritional intake, sex, race and body mass index and split into four groups: high active SSRI users, low active SSRI users, high active controls and low active controls. Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (DXA) scans were taken of the total body, proximal femur and anterior-posterior (AP) spine to assess bone health and a series of muscle tests were used to asses muscle strength, power and endurance. Muscle power, measured via vertical leap height, was significantly higher in both high- and low-active controls than SSRI-users. Low active SSRI-users showed significantly lower total leg bone mineral density and femoral neck and total femur bone mineral content than low active controls. These preliminary results suggest that SSRI use may reduce the ability to produce maximal muscle power by altering the effects of serotonin on action potential conductance. Additionally, SSRIs may have a negative effect on bone health in a college aged population, but these negative effects may be overcome through adequate levels of physical activity.