One-third of common medications can make people depressed

14 Juin, 2018, 04:24 | Auteur: Yves Courtet

"Approximately 15 percent of adults who simultaneously used three or more of these medications experienced depression while taking the drugs, compared with just five percent for those not using any of the drugs, (and) seven percent for those using one medication", said the study. Among the medication used by the survey's participants, the researchers found over 200 common prescription drugs that depression or suicidal symptoms listed as potential side effects.

Since the drugs are so common, people may be unaware of their potential depressive effects, said the report in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Researchers at the University of Illinois: Chicago and Columbia University looked at 26,000 adults' medication habits, among other health issues.

"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 Professor Dima Qato, from the University of IL at Chicago, in a statement. However, they often come with side effects. 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.

A new study from University of IL at Chicago researchers suggests that more than one-third of US 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.

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

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The study is cross-sectional, meaning it doesn't conclude that the medications used cause depression, but only that there is an association between the two.

Qato notes that the study also shows an important trend of increasing polypharmacy for medications with depression, particularly suicidal symptoms, as a potential adverse effect.

The list of potential side effects that accompanies most prescription drug may seem farcically long, and it can be easy to assume that the ill effects won't impact you. The research didn't consider, however, whether the patients had a medical history of depression or if the condition they were being treated for contributed to their depression.

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

Lead author Qato said solutions could include updating drug safety software so pharmacists could recognize if a person is taking drugs that raise the risk of depression.

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