In 3 Americans Take Medication With Depression As Potential Side Effect

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Many Americans are taking prescription drugs without knowing what effects they can have on their health.

Researchers from the University of IL and Columbia University analyzed medication data from more than 26,000 adults between 2005 and 2014, and found that an estimated 37% of all people living in the us are taking drugs that have depression or suicidal thoughts as potential side effects.

The researchers retrospectively analyzed medication use patterns of more than 26,000 adults from 2005 to 2014, which were collected as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

"It could, in fact, be that the drugs are leading to depression, however it could be that people had pre-existing depression".

Taking multiple medications at a time - known as polypharmacy - was shown to increase risk of depressive symptoms by three-fold.

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According to the study, the common prescription medications prescribed don't have anything to do with depression, so that is one reason that patients, and even their health care providers, don't know about the risk, according to University of IL campus online publication, UIC Today.

One drawback of the study, however, is that researchers lacked data on a history of depression, which can increase the risk of this mood disorder developing in the future, researchers note.

One in three of those who took the survey were consuming medications with the risk of side effects such as depression and suicidal tendencies.

The study found that using multiple medications increased the risk of experiencing depression further. Many doctors believe patients are being "over-medicalised", with little regard for the potentially risky side-effects.

They also found combining any of these drugs increases the risk. However, they often come with side effects. These include blood pressure, heart, antacid, pain killer and hormonal birth control medications.

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For prescription drugs with suicide listed as a potential side effect, usage increased from 17 percent to 24 percent, and use of three or more drugs concurrently increased from 2 percent to 3 percent.

When screening for depression, physicians may consider evaluating medications, she said.

According to the AFP, the JAMA report was released one week after United States health authorities said suicides have risen 30 percent in the past two decades, with about half of the suicides among people who had no history of mental illness.

"Product labeling for over-the-counter medications does not include comprehensive information on adverse effects including depression", said the report.

Olfson said, "The strength of the association between the number of medications and the likelihood of being depressed is surprising".

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DON MORDECAI: People should always be ready to ask, what are the risks and benefits of me taking this medication?