Medications May Increase Risk Of Depression

Medications May Increase Risk Of Depression

The report cautioned that "Product labeling for over-the-counter medications does not include comprehensive information on adverse side effects including depression".

For the study, Quato and her colleagues analyzed information provided by more than 26,000 USA adults who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 2005 through 2014.

The researchers found that the risk of depression was highest in people taking more than one drug with depression among its possible side effects.

More and more Americans are using such prescription drugs, according to the study published this week in the journal JAMA. Researchers found about 15% of adults who simultaneously used three or more of these medications experienced depression, compared to 5% of people who did not use any of the drugs.

Analysis of surveys of 26,000 American adults from 2005 to 2014, which were collected as part of the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, showed that taking multiple such medications dramatically increased the risk. Taking multiple medications that didn't carry a depression risk was not associated with increased depression. Often, patients have several medicines prescribed by multiple doctors, increasing the potential for them to take drug combinations with risky side effects.

The side effect was well known in some of the drugs, but to see it listed on others was a surprise, the study's authors say.

The researchers note the importance of future studies involving polypharmacy and updating drug safety software to emphasize how drug interactions can increase the risk of depression which could help doctors prescribe the right medications and reduce depression and suicide risk. Even with people who used only one of those drugs, it is 7 percent likely to get depressed.


"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.

Donald Mordecai, a psychiatrist with Kaiser Permanente in California, encouraged people to pay more attention to the risks and benefits of their drugs and also keep track of changes since starting medications.

These include drugs for birth control, heartburn, allergies, pain and high blood pressure.

"Use of three or more drugs concurrently increased from seven percent to 10 percent".

Physicians should consider assessing the medications their patients are taking when they screen them for depression, she and her colleagues urge in their paper.

This study is observational, which means it can't prove a cause-and-effect relationship between the use of prescription medications and depression. It's a reminder to always be thinking: "does this person really need this medication?"

Dima Qato, assistant professor of pharmacy systems, outcomes, and policy in the UIC College of Pharmacy had this to say about the prescription medication study's findings.

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