Your medications could be causing depression

An estimated 37.2 percent of U.S. adults are taking medications that list depression as a side effect according to a study

An estimated 37.2 percent of U.S. adults are taking medications that list depression as a side effect according to a study

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

Over one-third of participants were taking medications that had depression as a possible side effect. Over 200 commonly used medications studied include birth control pills, blood pressure medications, heart medications, antacids, and painkillers.

Qato hopes the research leads to improved warnings on how these prescription medications could lead to depression.

"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.

What's more, about 15 percent of adults with polypharmacy in the prescription medication study experienced depression.

The work is part of a provocative and growing body of research that documents how polypharmacy - the use of multiple prescription drugs at the same time - has risen in the U.S. The number of Americans taking at least five prescription drugs at the same time rose sharply between 1999 and 2012, and the elderly are particularly at risk for risky interactions between drugs.

"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. The goal of the study was to determine whether these individuals were more or less likely to experience depression compared to those who didn't take any of these medications.

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Depression is a serious problem in the United States.

The study is based on the medication patterns of over 26,000 adults between 2005 and 2014. So, just because these medications could potentially trigger depression in patients, that doesn't mean they will in every situation. How often do you pay attention to the side effects when you purchase medication? Sometimes another drug can be prescribed.

"With depression as one of the leading causes of disability and increasing national suicide rates, we need to think innovatively about depression as a public health issue", Dr. Qato said.

Qato says that people should now consider talking to their physicians and evaluating the medications they take.

The findings reflect statistical adjustments made by the researchers to account for demographic factors known to cause depression, such as poverty, marital status and unemployment, as well as for medical conditions associated with depression, such as chronic pain.

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

Olfson said, "The strength of the association between the number of medications and the likelihood of being depressed is surprising".

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