More than 200 common prescription drugs might cause depression

Millions are taking drugs, including birth control, that increase the risk of suicide

A third of American adults take prescription drugs that can cause depression: Study

Some of the medication on the list are well known for their depression-like side effects, such as beta-blockers and interferon. And when those side effects are downplayed or ignored, it might create new problems while attempting to fix something else.

Researchers at the University of IL at Chicago analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a large and nationally representative dataset, which contains information on the medications used by 26,00 American adults between 2005 and 2014.

More than one-third of adults in the USA take prescription drugs not knowing they could potentially cause depression or increase the risk of suicide, a new study finds.

The study found that using multiple medications increased the risk of experiencing depression further.

Does this mean that these drugs are responsible for the surge in depression and suicide rates seen in the United States? The team showed that the risk became worse if several of these drugs were taken at once. 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. The information was collected as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

One third of Americans are taking prescription and over-the-counter drugs, such as birth control pills, antacids and common heart medications, that may raise the risk of depression, researchers warned on Tuesday. The researchers have not established any causal relationship between the drugs they identified in the study and depression - they merely pointed out a correlation.

"Many may be surprised to learn that their medications, despite having nothing to do with mood or anxiety or any other condition normally associated with depression, can increase their risk of experiencing depressive symptoms, and may lead to a depression diagnosis", lead author Dima Qato, assistant professor of pharmacy systems, outcomes and policy at the University of IL at Chicago told the news agency AFP.

Because of how widely used some of these medications are, doctors and health care providers may be unaware of any increased risk of depression or suicide, even though they are known side effects, the researchers said.

The researchers think it's key that both the public and health practitioners keep in mind the side effects of medication.

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.

"Many may be surprised to learn that their medications, despite having nothing to do with mood or anxiety or any other condition normally associated with depression, can increase their risk of experiencing depressive symptoms, and may lead to a depression diagnosis", she added.

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