Posted on Jun 18, 2018, 9 p.m.
One third of adults within the USA may be using prescription medication with the potential to cause depression or increase risk of suicide, according to University of Illinois researchers. These medications are common often with nothing to due with depression leaving patients and health care providers unaware of the potential risks, as published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Retrospective analyzation of medication use patterns from upwards of 26,000 adults that were collected as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey were conducted with findings showing that more than 200 commonly used prescription drugs have depression or suicide listed as potential side effects which included antacids, painkillers, hormonal birth control medications, heart medications, proton pump inhibitors, and blood pressure medications.
This is the first study to demonstrate these drugs were often used concurrently according to the researchers, polypharmacy was associated with increased likelihood of depression. 15% of adults concurrently using 3 or more medications experienced depression, 9% for those taking two medications concurrently, 7% using only one medication, and 5% for those not taking any of the drugs. Similar results were observed for medications listing suicide as a potential side effect. Findings persisted even after persons using psychotropic medications were excluded.
Prescription medication with potential for depression adverse effect has increased from 35% to 38% since 2006. Approximate use of antacids with potential for depression adverse effect increased from 5% to 10%. Concurrent use of three or more drugs increased from 7% to 10%. Medications with suicide listed as a potential side effect usage increased from 17% to 24%, use of three of more concurrently increased from 2% to 3%.
People are using these drugs individually increasingly and also concurrently. Very few of these medications have warning labels, many of which are also available over the counter, leaving it up to the patient and healthcare providers to be aware of the risks that polypharmacy can lead to depressive symptoms. It was noted that there is an important trend of increased polypharmacy for medications with depression as potential adverse effects, especially suicidal symptoms, making the need to bring more awareness to the topic even more pressing.
Researchers suggest that solutions worth further study may include updating drug safety software to recognize depression drug to drug potential so that cases of multiple medications will be more likely to notice increased risk. Depression is one of the leading causes of disability and national suicide rates are increasing, research suggest it is important to think innovatively about depression and this study provides evidence of patterns that should be considered in strategies to minimize impacts of depression.
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