CHICAGO (CBS Local) – Health professionals are issuing a disturbing warning about common medications after finding that hundreds of drugs are putting people at risk for developing depression.
A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association estimates that more than a third of U.S. adults use prescription drugs that list depression or suicide as potential side effects. More than 200 commonly used medications studied include birth control pills, blood pressure medications, heart medications, antacids, and painkillers.
The study found that using multiple medications increased the risk of experiencing depression further. Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago examined 26,000 adult patients from 2005 to 2014. Fifteen percent of the adults who took three or more of these medications at the same time experienced depression, compared to just 5 percent who took none and 7 percent who took one.
“People are not only increasingly using these medicines alone, but are increasingly using them simultaneously, yet very few of these drugs have warning labels, so until we have public or system-level solutions, it is left up to patients and health care professionals to be aware of the risks,” lead author Dima Qato said in a press release.
However, there are several questions about these drugs that remain unanswered.
“It could, in fact, be that the drugs are leading to depression, however it could be that people had pre-existing depression. It could be the chronic conditions people are taking the medications for, heart conditions, cancer, is what’s really causing the depression, not the drugs,” said Dr. Tara Narula.
While depression is rising as one of the leading causes of disability and suicide rates, health experts say it’s important that people who take medications be aware of their side effects and if they have a history of mental health issues.
[H/T CBS Miami]