Side effects have always been associated with prescribed medication. However, research now indicates that there is an alarming number of commonly prescribed medications that have been definitively linked to depression. Furthermore, included in the number of medications connected to depression were two classes of prevalent over-the-counter medications—proton-pump inhibitors and allergy medications.
According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), there are more than 200 commonly prescribed medications that may be linked to depression or suicidal ideation. This means that over one-third of the U.S. population takes prescribed medication that has a risk of depression as a side effect, but many may be unaware of this shocking revelation.
In addition, long-term use of over-the-counter medications used to treat acid reflux and allergy symptoms—such as Prilosec and Zyrtec respectively—carry the risk of depression.
For those who take more than one of these prescription and over-the-counter medications, the risk increases. This puts older adults at a higher risk, due to the fact that these individuals tend to take more medications and are more vulnerable to side effects.
Medications Associated With Depression
Here are eight of the most commonly prescribed medications found to be linked to depression.
Ironically, many prescription antidepressants may react in the body or in conjunction with other medications to cause depression. Examples include Zoloft, Celexa, and Wellbutrin, as well as the generic brand of each.
2. Blood Pressure Meds
Use of medications that lower blood pressure is associated with depression. These include beta-blockers and angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors—metoprolol, enalapril, atenolol, and quinapril.
Not surprisingly, the risk of depression is also connected to opioids, most notably: Norco, Lorcet, Vicodin and Conzip (tramadol).
5. Over-the-Counter Proton-Pump Inhibitors
Examples include Zegerid, Prilosec, Nexium, Zantac, Pepcid, and generic brands.
6. Allergy and Asthma Meds
Examples include Zyrtec (allergies) and Singulair (asthma), as well as generics.
Commonly prescribed during menopause, hormone replacement therapy medications Delestrogen, Estrogel, and Elestrin were on the list, as well as Propecia for hair replacement and Proscar for enlarged prostate.
Included in the findings were Neurontin (gabapentin) and Topamax (topiramate).
Evaluation of Findings
The aforementioned medications make up only a small fraction of the number of medications that recent research has found to be associated with depression. If you are taking any of these drugs and experiencing what you believe to be signs of depression, take into consideration that they may not necessarily be the cause of these symptoms.
According to Mark Olfson, professor of psychiatry and epidemiology at Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York, "It's important to bear in mind that most people taking these medications, even those who are on three or more of them, don't have depression."
Since depression can be linked to many other factors—including chronic pain, insomnia or even an unhealthy relationship—it's important to consult with your physician or therapist about your symptoms, in order to get to the root of the problem before discontinuing use of any medication.
However, if you're not experiencing depressive symptoms while taking any of these medications, it's still wise to monitor your mood and take other precautions, such as exercising, meditating and developing healthy sleep habits to protect you from the risk of depression.
In addition, if you're in recovery and taking any of these meds, it's especially important for your recovery to maintain healthy lifestyle practices and be aware of extreme mood changes to protect you from relapse.