A third of American adults take prescription drugs that can cause depression

Maricruz Casares
Junio 14, 2018

More and more Americans are using such prescription drugs, according to the study published this week in the journal JAMA.

Researchers at the University of IL at Chicago analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a large and nationally representative dataset, which contains information on the medications used by 26,00 American adults between 2005 and 2014.

Drugs taken by more than one-third of USA adults have depression as a possible side effect, a new study reveals.

"People suffering from depression would do well to have an evaluation by a physician or a psychiatrist who is aware of all of the medical and pharmacological association with depression so they can be aware of things that might be contributing to the depression", he said.

Polypharmacy (taking more than one drug) increased the risk to 9 percent for two drugs and 15 percent for three drugs taken at once.

That doesn't mean that the drugs themselves cause the mood disorder - but it's a good reminder to read the fine print on your pill bottle and share any concerns with your doctor.

Drugs so frequently list "death" as a possible side effect that the danger has come to seem unremarkable.

According to a new study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, about one-third of United States adults may unknowingly be taking meds that have depression or suicide as a side effect. These findings persisted when the researchers excluded anyone using psychotropic medications, considered an indicator of underlying depression unrelated to medication use.

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"Product labeling for over-the-counter medications does not include comprehensive information on adverse effects including depression", said the report.

"Use of antacids with potential depression adverse effects, like proton pump inhibitors and H2 antagonists, increased from five percent to 10 percent in the same period", said the study.

They found that more than 200 commonly used prescription drugs have depression or suicide listed as potential side effects.

These medications include blood pressure drugs called beta-blockers, hormonal contraceptives and pain medications, researchers said. The survey shows that over the decade in question, all the common drugs looked at it in the study were increasingly prescribed.

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

"Many prescription medicines may have depression as a possible side effect and this should be discussed with patients up front".

"The take away message of this study is that polypharmacy can lead to depressive symptoms and that patients and health care providers need to be aware of the risk of depression that comes with all kinds of common prescription drugs - many of which are also available over the counter", said lead author Dima Qato, assistant professor of pharmacy systems, outcomes and policy in the UIC College of Pharmacy.

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