Young women who regularly take tranquillizers or antidepressants increase their chances of dying from a heart attack by 17 times.

This was the surprise finding of a study by Oxford University into causes of fatal heart attacks among women aged from 16 to 39.

The study originally set out to discover any link between heart attacks and oral contraceptives. Women, they discovered, double their chances of a fatal heart attack if they take the Pill, although actual numbers are low. About 50 women a year in the study age group die from a heart attack in England and Wales.

However, the study revealed that women face a much higher risk if they take antidepressants or tranquillizers. Team leader Dr Margaret Thorogood of the Department of Public Health and Primary Care at Oxford warned that the results should be treated with caution as the study had not set out to investigate the link. The Lancet, 31 October 1992.

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Written by What Doctors Don't Tell You

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