Health scare of the week
Medication and depression
Your medicine cabinet could be making you blue. More than one-third of Americans are now taking medications that can cause depression as a side effect, according to a new study. Researchers identified about 200 prescription drugs that can cause the mood disorder, including many common medications taken by older adults, such as proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs), used to treat acid reflux, and beta blockers for hypertension. The study found that the more of these drugs people take, the greater their risk of depression. About 7 percent of participants taking one such drug were depressed, compared with 15.3 percent of those taking three or more. Many doctors “may not be aware that several commonly prescribed medications are associated with an increased risk of this disorder,” study author Mark Olfson, a professor at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, tells Consumer Reports. But other experts note that many people taking these medications already suffer from conditions that put them at a raised risk of depression. Up to half of people with chronic pain, for example, also have depression or another mood disorder—because the parts of the brain that process pain also affect mood.