More than a third of Americans may unknowingly use prescription medications that include depression as a potential side effect. The use of multiple medications simultaneously is also on the rise.
The study titled “Prevalence of Prescription Medications With Depression as a Potential Adverse Effect Among Adults in the United States” was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on June 12.
Method and findings
The study looked at 26,192 adults, analyzing their medication use patterns from 2005 to 2014. It was found that more than 200 commonly used prescription drugs list depression or suicide as potential side effects.
Thirty-seven percent of Americans may be using these drugs which include hormonal birth control medications, painkillers, blood pressure or heart medications, proton pump inhibitors, antacids, etc. Around 8 percent of the total participants reported depression.
Risks of polypharmacy
Those who simultaneously used multiple medications (known as polypharmacy) were more likely to report depression, according to co-author Mark Olfson.
Approximately 15 percent of adults who used three or more of these medications at the same time reported depressive symptoms. It was 5 percent among those not taking the drugs, 7 percent among those taking only one drug, and 9 percent among those taking two drugs at the same time.