Are Your Medications The Cause For Your Depression?

15 June, 2018, 12:00 | Author: Lillian Steele
  • IMAGE This is Dima Qato.  view more  Credit UIC  Jenny Fontaine

Numerous drugs are commonplace and not associated with a risk of depression despite the evidence showing their effects.

A new study from University of IL at Chicago researchers suggests that more than one-third of USA adults may be using prescription medications that have the potential to cause depression or increase the risk of suicide, and that because these medications are common and often have nothing to do with depression, patients and health care providers may be unaware of the risk.

The study was observational in nature and was based on survey data on more than 26,000 adults from 2005 to 2014, collected as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

Certain blood pressure medications, oral contraceptives, painkillers and even antacids were cited on the list of 200 prescription drugs named in the study that have known potential side effects of depression and even suicide.

"It could, in fact, be that the drugs are leading to depression, however it could be that people had pre-existing depression".

Among their results found rising rates of use of common medications and increase rates of polypharmacy. What's more, the fraction of American adults taking three or more prescription drugs with these side effects jumped from 6.9 percent in 2005-2006 to 9.5 percent in 2013-2014.

"People who don't have a history of depression and then, suddenly, start to have symptoms of depression should be concerned that it's potentially due to a side effect, or potentially, an interaction", Mordecai says. Till now, we were familiar with the broad category of generalised side effects.

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Physicians should consider assessing the medications their patients are taking when they screen them for depression, she and her colleagues urge in their paper. The study found about 1 in 3 adults in the taking at least one of these drugs.

"What is very convincing about this study is that authors also look at individuals who are using drugs that do not have depression as adverse effect, and do not find a link to concurrent depression", Karaca-Mandic, who wasn't involved in the study, said by email. Even with people who used only one of those drugs, it is 7 percent likely to get depressed.

This was the first time when researchers linked depression to multiple pill use.

DON MORDECAI: People should always be ready to ask, what are the risks and benefits of me taking this medication?

"Even if the same doctor is prescribing drugs, the fact is that it's really hard - there's no software that tells a doctor, 'your patient is on three drugs that predispose them or are associated potentially with depression or suicidal symptoms", Qato said.

"The best thing people can do if they're concerned is to go and have a talk to their GP", Dr Kyle said.


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