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Prescription Drugs That Can Cause Depression

Prescription Drugs That Can Cause Depression
(Elliot Burlingham/Dreamstime)

By    |   Tuesday, 19 March 2019 09:00 AM

Medications are supposed to make you feel better. That’s one of the reasons over 40 percent of people over the age of 65 regularly take at least five different prescription drugs.

But according to AARP, many commonly used drugs, especially those prescribed to treat high blood pressure, heartburn, and anxiety can cause depression. A study conducted by the University of Illinois at Chicago and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that 200 prescription drugs commonly used in older adults can cause depression.

The researchers also found that the more drugs a person takes, the higher the risk for depression. “Many physicians may not be aware that several commonly prescribed medications are associated with an increased risk of depression,” says study author Mark Olfson, M.D, professor of psychiatry and epidemiology at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center. As a result, doctors don’t screen their patients for depression or educate them about the disease.

These top prescriptions — and their generic versions — as well as over-the-counter (OTC) medications are among the most commonly prescribed drugs that can cause depression in adults, according to the JAMA study:

  • Beta-blockers to treat high blood pressure such as metoprolol, atenolol, and enalapril.
  • Anti-anxiety medications such as alprazolam (Xanax), clonazepam (Klonopin), diazepam (Valium), and the sedative zolpidem (Ambien).
  • Opioids such as hydrocodone (Norco, Vicodin) and tramadol (Ultram, ConZip).
  • Corticosteroids such as cortisone, hydrocortisone, or prednisone.
  • Over-the-counter proton pump inhibitors such as omeprazole (Prilosec) and esomeprazole (Nexium), as well as OTC antacids such as ranitidine (Zantac) and famotidine (Pepcid).
  • Certain allergy and asthma medications. The OTC allergy medication cetirizine (Zyrtec) has been linked to depression as has the asthma drug montelukast (Singulair).
  • Anticonvulsant medications such as gabapentin (Neurontin) and topiramate (Topamax).
  • Amitriptyline used to treat nerve pain and prevent migraine headaches.
  • Hormonal drugs Estradiol (Delestrogen, Estrogel) used to treat menopausal symptoms and finasteride (Proscar, Propecia) used to treat enlarged prostate and hair loss in men.

Experts say that while most adults do not suffer the side effects of depression, it’s important to keep tabs on your mood. If you find you are feeling blue or in a depressed state of mind for two weeks see your doctor.

“Primary care physicians often practice under conservable time pressure,” says Olfson. “Once a patient is identified as having depression, they are commonly presented with options of either starting antidepressants or psychotherapy.”

So, it’s crucial, he says, to make sure your doctor is taking into account one or more of the medications you are taking which may be contributing to your depression.

If your physician doesn’t seem well-versed in each drug’s side effect, or seems reluctant to look into the matter, ask your pharmacist who should be very familiar with them. For people with Medicare Part D, a visit to review your medication is covered once a year as part of your medication management.

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Medications are supposed to make you feel better. That's one of the reasons over 40 percent of people over the age of 65 regularly take at least five different prescription drugs.But according to AARP, many commonly used drugs, especially those prescribed to...
prescription, drugs, depression
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2019-00-19
Tuesday, 19 March 2019 09:00 AM
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