A large study from Taiwan found that antidepressants cut the risk of dying during the study period by more than one-third for people with diabetes and depression.
“Antidepressant use was associated with significantly reduced mortality by 35 percent among patients with diabetes and depression,” said study senior author Dr. Vincent Chin-Hung Chen, a professor in the College of Medicine at Chang Gung University in Taiwan.
While the study didn’t look for what the underlying reason for the benefit might be, past research suggests several reasons why antidepressants might lower the risk of dying for people with diabetes and depression.
First, antidepressants may lower someone’s risk of suicide. These medications also improve mood, which may lead to better diabetes management.
The drugs also have biological effects that may reduce the risk of other conditions, such as heart disease. Antidepressants reduce inflammation in the body, and they help keep the blood thinner, which may help prevent blood clots.
People with diabetes are two to three times more likely to experience depression, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many of those people will go untreated. The CDC estimates that between 50 percent and 75 percent of people with diabetes don’t get treatment for their depression.
People with depression can lose the ability to take care of themselves properly, such as taking medications at prescribed times in the proper doses. That can be very dangerous for diabetics. The study highlights the need for people with diabetes to be screened and treated for depression.
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