11 Commonly Prescribed Medicines Have Highest Depression Risk


Medical science has shown a massive improvement over the last decade. Several ailments that had no cure ages ago have finally found a relieving mechanism. However, with each medicine you consume, there are chances that you could show some body signs that indicate a side effect of the medicine.

Have you been wondering about the reason behind your recent series of depression episodes? Have you started any form of common medicine off late? Well, there could be a real link between the answers to these two questions.

Your medicine cabinet could be the culprit causing depression. Several prescription drugs have been found to be linked to causing depression in quite a large number of adults. Depression is a potential side effect of some of the commonly taken drugs.

According to a recent research data published in JAMA, there are about 200 drugs that are commonly prescribed and could have potential association with depression and suicidal symptoms.

Some of these drugs are antihypertensives that are used for high blood pressure treatment, proton pump inhibitors used for treating acid reflux, opioid analgesics, medicines to treat anxiety, hormonal birth control pills, and medicines containing ibuprofen.

Here are 11 most commonly prescribed drugs which have been found to have potential side effects of causing depression:

1. Omeprazole
2. Metoprolol
3. Ethinyl estradiol
4. Hydrocodone
5. Sertraline
6. Alprazolam
7. Gabapentin
8. Citalopram
9. Atenolol
10. Estradiol
11. Bupropion

One of the most commonly prescribed drugs is omeprazole. Research found that the use of this drug was done by over 5.5 per cent of the study participants. Omeprazole is a proton pump inhibitor.

It is used to treat gastroesophageal reflux diseases (GERD) and can also be used to treat peptic ulcers. According to the study, proton pump inhibitors could possibly cause depression.

Metoprolol is a beta-blocker type of medication. This is used to treat cases of high blood pressure and ailments related to heart failure. A study conducted in 2016 shows that people who were taking medication that had beta-blockers had chances of having depression.

Drugs containing calcium channel antagonists also showed chances of high risk depression. These are another class of blood pressure regulators. There were almost 4.9 per cent of participants who had used this drug.

Most of the hormonal birth control pills contain ethinyl estradiol. This is also used in the treatment of menopausal symptoms in aged women. A study conducted in 2016 and published in the BMJ said that the use of such hormonal contraceptive cells majorly by adult women could possibly be associated with cases of depression.

It was found that use of such contraceptives led to the subsequent use of antidepressants. Such cases were found among 4.6 per cent of participants.

This is an opioid analgesic that is consumed orally. About 3.7 per cent of participants used this hormone.

It belongs to the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class of antidepressants and is used to treat depression. This drug is also used to treat some forms of anxiety and panic disorders. SSRI class of antidepressants carry a black box warning over their packaging which states the highest level of warning from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

This is due to their potential effects of arising suicidal thoughts and negative behaviours in children and young adults up to the age of 25 years. This was found to be used by about 2.8 per cent of people in the study.

This is a benzodiazepine anxiolytic drug. It is used to treat conditions of panic disorder and anxiety.

Gabapentin has been used for conditions such as seizures, neuropathic pain and epilepsy. The FDA issued a warning in the year 2008 stating that gabapentin usage could create risks of suicidality. This was the case with most of the antiepileptic drugs.

After the warning message, there had been few studies that challenged this conclusion stating that the results were inconsistent. The study had about 2.4 per cent of participants.

This is an antidepressant belonging to the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class. It is widely used to treat depression. At times it is also sold over-the-counter for treating anxiety and panic disorders. There is a black box warning message mentioned on the packaging of citalopram.

This mentions a highest level of warning note from the FDA. This is due to the potential effects of this medicine that can cause suicidal thoughts and attitudes especially in children and young adults up to the age of 25 years. The study had about 2.4 per cent of participants using this.

This is a beta-blocker class of drug. It is used for treating high blood pressure issues and angina. The study had about 2.4 per cent of participants using this drug.

Several birth control pills possess estrogen hormone. Estradiol is an estrogen hormone that is present in almost all contraceptive pills. Some menopausal hormone therapies also make use of estradiol. The study had about 2.3 per cent of participants.

This belongs to the norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor (NDRI) class of antidepressants. It is widely used for treating depression. It is also used by people who wish to quit smoking.

The packaging of bupropion carries a black-box warning that states the highest level of warning message from FDA as it contains potential effects of causing suicidal thoughts and behaviours in children and young adults up to the age of 25 years. The study had about 2.2 per cent of participants who used this drug.

The study based on which it was identified that the above-mentioned drugs could lead to depression was conducted using data obtained through a survey that involved about 26,192 adults.

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey made the participants' list, the medications they had/were taking and stated the result of the depression-screening questionnaire.

According to one of the authors of the study, Dr. Mark Olfson, who is also a professor of psychiatry and epidemiology at Columbia University, the adults who took the medicines mentioned above showed the chances of possessing an increased risk of suffering from depression.

Medicines are meant for the well being of human beings and it is important that we always take medicines only after these have been prescribed by a doctor. However, going by what the research data revealed, several commonly used drugs can show potential risk factors that can lead to cases of depression, including suicidal thoughts and acts.

It is therefore important that we understand the associated risk factor of every medicine that we consume. It is always advisable to read the label of the medicine. Going through the warning message and the composition of a drug that you are consuming will help you judge if any negative signs in your body are actually a side effect of the drug that you are consuming.

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