To Your Health
June, 2018 (Vol. 12, Issue 06)
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When Medications Cause Depression

By Editorial Staff

We talked about depression earlier in this issue of To Your Health, specifically how resistance exercise may help reduce depression symptoms.

Now let’s discuss how certain medications, many of which are readily available without a prescription, can actually increase depression risk.

Common medications used for birth control, heartburn, allergies, pain and high blood pressure all list depression as a potential side effect, and nearly 40 percent of Americans take a least one such medication, according to the latest data published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. This is both a significant increase in the percentage of Americans using medications with depression as a potential adverse effect in the past decade and an increase in the percentage using three or more medications with depression as a potential side effect.

The moral to this depressing story is equally depressing: Many Americans are taking multiple medications (dubbed polypharmacy); many of these medications may cause depression; and some are even available without a prescription (e.g., antacids and pain relievers such as ibuprofen), making their use that much more prevalent. Talk to your doctor about the potential side effects of any medication before you take it, and ask whether nondrug strategies may be as effective (and safer) for the health issue you're experiencing.