The lungs may be acting as a reservoir for antidepressants, causing toxic effects in the blood and brain, says a recent report from Japan.

Researchers at radiology institutes in Chiba, Japan have witnessed an accumulation of serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) in the lungs of both rats and humans taking the drug, according to studies conducted on healthy men aged 20 to 22.

The team found that antidepressant drugs, which bind to a transporter of the hormone serotonin, collect in the lungs, leading to an increase in blood and brain radioactivity.

The researchers mainly found this effect with the tricyclic antidepressant clomipramine, but new style antidepressants like fluoxetine (Prozac) also seem to accumulate in the lungs (The Lancet, 1998; 351: 332-5).

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