Research links prescription drugs to depression

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New study results released by the University of IL indicate that one in three adults in the unknowingly taking prescriptions that can potentially increase their risk of depression and suicides, reports USA Today.

A new study shows that many Americans are unaware of the depressive side effects of many common medications.

For the study, the researchers analyzed data from a survey of more than 26,000 Americans over the course of nine years.

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.

Now, a recent study suggests that over-the-counter and prescription medications could be a factor in America's high rates of depression and suicide.

Approximately 15 percent of adults who used three or more of these medications at the same time reported depressive symptoms. Reported use of 3 or more concurrent medications with a potential for depression as an adverse effect was estimated at 6.9% in 2005 and 2006 and 9.5% in 2013 and 2014.

The researchers from the University of IL at Chicago are now calling for the pharmaceutical industry to be more vigilant in labeling drugs that have suicide and depression as potential 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.

Suicide rates are climbing in the United States, and doctors are facing treatment-resistant depression, too, said Qato, an assistant professor at the University of Illinois College of Pharmacy. Researchers from the University of IL at Chicago examined 26,000 adult patients from 2005 to 2014.

Depression may not actually be a result of the medication itself, which is why it's important to talk to a GP or health professional to get to the bottom of what's causing symptoms. 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.

Most are prescription drugs, but some are available over the counter, Qato said.

The prescription medication study was published on June 12 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Over that same period, the proportion of U.S. adults taking at least three drugs linked to depression rose to nearly 10 percent from about seven percent.

At the time of the survey, all participants listed the medications they were taking and completed a depression screening that measured mood, sleep, and appetite.

"If there's not a reason to be depressed and the depression doesn't seem to be going away, it may be a reaction to a medication", Dr. Nydegger said.

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