Sunday, 22 July, 2018

One-third of common medications can make people depressed

Millions are taking drugs, including birth control, that increase the risk of suicide A third of American adults take prescription drugs that can cause depression: Study
Johnnie Parks | 16 June, 2018, 14:23

Currently, more than one third of Americans are taking drugs that come with an increased risk of depression and-whether or not they realize it-patients are feeling the impact.

More than one-third of USA adults could be taking prescription medications without realizing the potential side effect of depression and a higher risk of suicide, according to a new study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Besides blood pressure drugs such as metoprolol and atenolol, medications that can lead to depression include gabapentin (Neurontin), an anti-seizure treatment also used for shingles.

But we see a worrisome dose-response pattern: "the more of these medications that have these adverse effects that you're taking concurrently, the higher the risk of depression", said Dr. Qato. But little research has looked at the role commonly used medications may play in its development.

The researchers discovered that around 15% adults who took three or even more of these medications experienced more of depression as a side effect while 5% who did not take the medications, 7% who took just one medication and 9% who took two medications all at one time were estimated to suffer from depression.

This would allow health care professionals, including pharmacists, to be better educated if a patient is using multiple medications that may increase risk of side effects.

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However, there are several questions about these drugs that remain unanswered. The goal of the study was to determine whether these individuals were more or less likely to experience depression compared to those who didn't take any of these medications.

In addition, use of drugs with suicidal symptoms as a possible side effect rose from 17 percent to 24 percent during the 10-year study period, Qato said.

The study, which was published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, included 26,192 adults who participated in a federal survey, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Others on the list included those available with a prescription and included beta blockers, anticonvulsants, ACE inhibitors, and hormonal birth control.

The researchers found 200 commonly-used prescription drugs for things like birth control, blood pressure, pain, heart problems and more listed depression as a possible side effect. These findings remained strong even when the researchers excluded anyone using psychotropic medications, considered an indicator of underlying depression unrelated to medication use. Over that same period, the proportion of United States adults taking at least three drugs linked to depression rose to nearly 10 percent from about seven percent.

OLFSON: Yes. I was surprised by the strength of the association between the number of medications and your likelihood of being depressed. It's a reminder to always be thinking: "does this person really need this medication?"

AUBREY: Mordecai says if you start a new medicine, keep track of changes and how you feel. When screening for depression, physicians may consider evaluating medications, she said.

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