New York, March 9: Anti-depressants which are commonly used to treat anxiety, pain and other disorders, can weaken bone growth and may play a role in dental implant failure, says a study. A team of US researchers found that the use of anti-depressants increased the odds of implant failure by four times. Each year of anti-depressant use doubled the odds of failure. While these drugs are often used to manage mood and emotions, a side effect decreases the regulation of bone metabolism which is crucial to the healing process. "For an implant to heal properly, new bone must form around it to secure it in place," said lead investigator Sulochana Gurung from the University at Buffalo (UB). Anti-depressant medication may relieve depression symptoms and help millions of patients worldwide. "However, their benefits must be weighed with side effects. Patients should cooperate with their physician to reach the right balance," added co-investigator Latifa Bairam. "Four of the many known side effects that are reported in the literature are a big concern to us as dentists in regard to oral and bone health," Bairam added. After analysing data from the medical charts of UB Dental Clinic patients in 2014, the researchers found that of the few patients who experienced implant failures, 33 percent used anti-depressants. For patients who did not experience failures, only 11 percent used the drug. "We decided that the dental community and the world should be aware of this and that triggered the preparation of the research," Andreana stated, adding that the difference between 33 percent and 11 percent is quite remarkable and needs further in-depth analysis. Those using anti-depressants should consult with their physician about the drug's side effects and alternative methods of managing depression, anxiety or pain, the researchers advised. The findings are set to be presented at the 45th annual American Association for Dental Research conference in Los Angeles on March 19.