Tuesday, 20 August, 2019

One third of U.S. adults take meds that can cause depression

Depressed depression anxiety 1 in 3 US adults on medication unknowingly fall prey to depression. Pixabay
Anna Jefferson | 15 June, 2018, 11:57

Qato says that solutions worth further study may include updating drug safety software to recognize depression as a potential drug-drug interaction, so that health care professionals, including pharmacists, are more likely to notice if a patient is using multiple medications that may increase risk.

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.

The information was collected as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

About 15 percent of people taking at least three drugs tied to depression reported this diagnosis, compared with about five percent of participants who didn't take any drugs with this potential side effect, the study found.

The research is the first to show that these drugs are often used concurrently and that concurrent use, called polypharmacy, is linked to an increased risk of depression. Taking multiple medications that didn't carry a depression risk was not associated with increased depression.

She recommends everyone read the package of their prescription medications and be aware of the side effects. Many are common drugs, including painkillers and birth control pills.

Some people who developed depression as a side effect of medication, however, might have had undiagnosed or untreated depression before they took the other drugs, said Pinar Karaca-Mandic, academic director of the Medical Industry Leadership Institute at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

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Co-authors on the study are doctoral student Katharine Ozenberger of UIC and Columbia University's Mark Olfson, M.D., M.P.H.

"We know polypharmacy is growing, we know it is not always promoting good health and longevity in patients, and we know a lot of drugs have certain adverse effects - and one of them is depression and suicidal symptoms", Qato said.

"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.

This study is observational, which means it can't prove a cause-and-effect relationship between the use of prescription medications and depression. Over that same period, the proportion of USA adults taking at least three drugs linked to depression rose to nearly 10 percent from about seven percent.

DON MORDECAI: People should always be ready to ask, what are the risks and benefits of me taking this medication?

Dima Qato, assistant professor of pharmacy systems, outcomes, and policy in the UIC College of Pharmacy had this to say about the prescription medication study's findings.

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