Prescription medications typically can cause a variety of side affects. In fact, while the prescription medication itself may provide the intended healing in varying degrees, side affects are a certainty. Now, researchers report that several medications can cause depression and other mood disorder side effects.
Indeed, it appears that depression as a side effect of prescription drugs is widespread and increasingly gaining attention. The contributing medications might actually surprise you. For example, an asthma medication, Singulair, is prescribed to help people breathe more easily, but its side effects may include depression, anxiety, and suicidal thinking.
Prescription Medications: What Are The Stats?
The full list of drugs that could cause depression as a side effect is extensive. British researchers found 110 different medications that linked with increased depression risk.
Here are a few examples of prescription medications that contribute to the development of depression or other mood symptoms:
- Chantix (varenicline), used to stop smoking. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lists hostility, anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts as possible side effects of this medication.
- Inderal (propranolol hydrochloride) and other drugs in the beta-blocker class, are used to treat high blood pressure. Research on beta-blockers and depression suggests that some, but not all, of the medications in this class can contribute to depression
- Corticosteroids. Some people who take corticosteroids experience side effects such as depression, anxiety, and panic attacks.
- Interferon-alpha. As many as 40 percent of people using this immunologic medication may experience depression.
- Vigabatrin. This anticonvulsant may cause depression, irritability, and psychosis.
Prescription Medications: Are You Also Getting Depressed?
How does one know if their depression is actually a secondary unintended consequence of their prescription medication? Here are some possible indicators:
- Timeline. Drug-induced depression is defined as depression that appears within 2-8 weeks of starting or stopping a medication, according to the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP).
- Dose-response relationship. With some drugs, depression symptoms may get better as the dose is reduced or worse as it is increased. This is usually a clear indication of a relationship.
Screening tools and questionnaires can also reliably identify depression. In addition, you can also send information about your experiences to the FDA.
If you think your depression symptoms are linked to a prescription drug you’re taking, call your doctor. Get screened and find a better way to manage both your health issues and your mood.