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Depression as a side effect of certain drugs needs attention, say researchers

Researchers from the United States have noted the large proportion of medicines with depression listed as a potential side effect.

Prescribers should pay attention to the risk of depression as a side effect of certain drugs, say the authors of a US study[1].

The researchers used data from a US population-based survey that ran between 2005 and 2014. Overall, 37.2% of the 26,192 adults included in the study took at least one medicine with depression listed as a potential side effect. The prevalence of depression was significantly higher among patients taking three or more such medicines (15.3%) compared with those taking no medicines with depression listed as an adverse event (4.7%).

By contrast, polypharmacy was not associated with depression prevalence among users of drugs not associated with depression adverse events.

The researchers noted that many of the most commonly used medicines, such as antihypertensives, proton pump inhibitors and hormonal contraception, have depression listed as a potential side effect.

“Longitudinal studies are warranted that examine whether provision of information about medications that have been associated with depression as a potential adverse effect will decrease the subsequent incidence of depression,” they concluded in JAMA (12 June 2018).

Citation: Clinical Pharmacist DOI: 10.1211/CP.2018.20205151

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