Prescription drugs are supposed to make you feel better, but unbeknownst to many, these drugs can also make you feel very depressed. Specifically, drugs prescribed to treat high blood pressure, heartburn and anxiety, can cause depression, according to a University of Illinois at Chicago study recently published.
These researchers found that 200 prescription drugs, including those used by senior citizens can cause depression. The drugs are proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) to treat acid reflux and beta-blockers for hypertension.
Most alarming, they also found that the more drugs people took, the higher their risk for depression. The statistics show that seven percent of patients taking one of the above mentioned drugs developed depression. But, of those patients taking all three drugs, 15 percent developed depression.
That patients are not aware of this is understandable, but most concerning is that doctors are also unaware of this. As a result, patients are not being screened for depression and not being educated.
Education and vigilance is the key to keeping possible prescription drug-induced depression in check.
Prescription Drugs: Know The Signs Of Depression
All of us get into a funk from time to time, it’s normal. But, you should be concerned if you feel depressed most of the time over a two week period.
If so, call your doctor.
Symptoms that something is wrong can include:
- loss of interest in normally pleasurable activities,
- changes in appetite or weight,
- insomnia or sleeping too much,
- feeling exceptionally fatigued,
- trouble concentrating,
- feeling worthless
Keep in mind that less than 2 percent of doctor’s visits include screening for depression.
Prescription Drugs: Time To Review Your Meds
When you visit your doctor, review all the medications you’re taking. Your depression may be the result of drug interactions. Many drugs do have side affects.
Lowering the dosage of one drug may be the answer.
Prescription Drugs: Some Solutions
If one of your medications does seem to be the cause, you may not need to stop taking it, a lower dosage could be the answer. But, if that isn’t possible, the next step is to try to switch to another class of medications. It may be another blood pressure drug or a switch to ibuprofen from cortisone to control your inflammation.
In addition to changing dosages or moving on to new drugs, lifestyle changes can also help reduce depression. For example, a recent study showed that depressed patients who lost weight, ate a healthy diet, and exercised regularly, reduced their symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Socializing also helps. A study published in The British Journal of Psychiatry found that people who saw films, plays, or visited a museum at least once a month had 48 percent lower risk of developing depression.
Eat healthy, exercise, and get involved in social activities.
Prescription Drugs: How Do I Know Which Drugs Cause Depression?
According to The Centers For Disease Controls(CDC) these prescription drugs are the most common to cause depression side affects:
- Beta-blockers to treat high blood pressure such as metoprolol, atenolol, enalapril, and quinapril.
- Anti-anxiety medications such as alprazolam (Xanax and generic), clonazepam (Klonopin and generic), diazepam (Valium and generic) and lorazepam (Ativan and generic) as well as the sedative zolpidem (Ambien and generic).
- Opioids such as hydrocodone (Norco, Vicodin, Lorcet and generic), tramadol (Ultram, ConZip and generic).
- Corticosteroids such as cortisone, hydrocortisone or prednisone, which are used to treat a variety of conditions including asthma, lupus and rashes.
- Over-the-counter proton pump inhibitors omeprazole (Prilosec, Zegerid and generic) and esomeprazole (Nexium and generic) as well as over-the-counter antacids ranitidine (Zantac and generic) and famotidine (Pepcid and generic).
- Certain allergy and asthma medications. The over-the-counter allergy medication cetirizine (Zyrtec and generic) has been linked to depression, as has another type of drug, montelukast (Singulair), which is often used to treat people with allergic asthma.
- Anticonvulsant medications such as gabapentin (Neurontin and generic) and topiramate (Topamax and generic).
- Amitriptyline to treat nerve pain and prevent migraine headaches.
- Hormonal drugs. Estradiol (Delestrogen, Elestrin, EstroGel and generic), commonly used to treat menopausal symptoms and finasteride (Proscar, Propecia and generic), a medication used to treat an enlarged prostate and/or hair loss in men.
Talk to your doctor and get educated.