From the Journals

Study finds widespread use of medications with depression as side effect


About one-third of U.S. adults may be using prescription medications that have depression as a possible side effect, results of a cross-sectional survey study suggest.

Use of multiple medications with depression as a possible side effect was associated with greater likelihood of concurrent depression, authors of the study reported in JAMA.

“The results suggest that physicians should consider discussing these associations with their patients who are prescribed medications that have depression as a potential adverse effect,” said authors, including Dima Mazen Qato, PharmD, MPH, PhD, Department of Pharmacy Systems, Outcomes and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago.

The study included data from 26,192 adults who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2005 and 2014. The mean age of participants was 46.2 years, 51.1% were women, and 7.6% reported depression.

Overall, 37.2% of participants reported using medications that had depression as an adverse effect. Use of those medications has increased over time, from 35.0% in 2005-2006 to 38.4% in 2013-2014 (P = .03 for the trend), investigators reported.

Likewise, the proportion of people using at least three medications with depression as a potential side effect, increased from 6.9% to 9.5% from the 2005-2006 to 2013-2014 time period (P = .001), they added.

The prevalence of depression increased with the number of medications with depression as a side effect, in an analysis that excluded antidepressant users. Prevalence was just 4.7% for people who did not use them, up to 15% for those using three or more, a 10.7 percentage point difference, authors noted.

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