Prevalence of prescription medications with depression as a potential adverse effect

Use of prescription medications that list depression as a potential adverse effect is common, according to new research.

Use of prescription medications that list depression as a potential adverse effect is common, according to new research. The cross-sectional study, led by Dima Mazen Qato of the University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Pharmacy, was conducted between 2005 and 2014, using data from five 2-year cycles of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Among the more than 26,000 adults included in the study, 7.6% reported depression. The overall estimated prevalence of use of medications with depression as an adverse effect was 37.2%, rising from 35.0% in 2005–06 to 38.4% in 2013–14. The percentage of adults reporting use of three or more concurrent medications with a potential for depression as an adverse effect rose from an estimated 6.9% in 2005 and 2006 to 9.5% in 2013 and 2014. Excluding users of antidepressants, the number of medications used with depression listed as a possible adverse effects was linked to greater prevalence of concurrent depression. For individuals reporting use of three or more medications with depression as an adverse effect, the estimated prevalence of depression was 15%, compared with 4.7% for those not using such medications. Based on the findings, the researchers suggest that "physicians ... consider discussing these associations with their patients who are prescribed medications that have depression as a potential adverse effect."