Research links prescription drugs to depression

Americans are increasingly taking multiple drugs. And depression is a potential side effect of many of them

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

The study, conducted by the researchers of Illinois University, Chicago showed that people that are using medications which are most commonly prescribed may have a high risk of depression.

The Chicago researchers analyzed mediation-use patterns of more than 26,000 adults from 2005 to 2014 using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. In the year 2005-2006, 35 percent of the participants had been taking a prescription drug with depression listed as a potential side effect, but less decade a later, in 2013-2014, this figure jumped to 38.4 percent.

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

"Simply put, the more medications you're taking together that are associated with depression, the more likely you are to report having depression", said Dima Qato, lead author of the study and assistant professor of pharmacy systems, outcomes and policy at the University of IL.

Among their results found rising rates of use of common medications and increase rates of polypharmacy.

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.

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A new study suggests an estimated 37 percent of USA adults take prescription medications that have depression listed as a potential side effect. Often, patients have several medicines prescribed by multiple doctors, increasing the potential for them to take drug combinations with risky side effects.

A surprising number of common medications list depression or suicidal thoughts as possible side effects.

Blood pressure pills, hormone-based birth control and indigestion tablets can all raise the chance of a patient suffering depression.

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

Part of the problem is that "people aren't aware that [these medications] could cause depression", Qato added.

"The study is an important reminder that all medicines have risks, and most medicines have rare but serious risks - yet another reason that even commonly used medicines such as beta-blockers or proton pump inhibitors should not be used cavalierly", said Dr. Caleb Alexander, co-director of the Center for Drug Safety and Effectiveness at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. It's a reminder to always be thinking: "does this person really need this medication?"

And patients should talk with their doctors if they notice any changes in their mood while taking a medication.

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