Public Release: 

Is use of prescription medications with depression as possible side effect common?


Bottom Line: More than one-third of U.S. adults may use prescription medications that have depression as a possible side effect.

Why The Research Is Interesting: Prescription medications are widely used among adults and many prescriptions, such as hormonal contraceptives and beta-blockers, are associated with increased risk of depression.

Who and When: 26,192 adults who participated in a nationally representative survey between 2005-2014

What (Study Measures): Prescription medications with depression as a possible side effect (exposure); use of medications with potential to cause depression and depression (outcomes)

How (Study Design): This was a population-based survey study.

Authors: Dima Mazen Qato, Pharm.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Pharmacy, and coauthors

Results: An estimated 37 percent of adults used prescription medications that had depression as a potential side effect; the use of multiple medications with depression as a possible side effect was associated with a greater likelihood of depression.

Study Limitations: Cause-and-effect inferences cannot be made about the use of prescription medications and depressive symptoms; the survey cannot account for a history of depression

Study Conclusions: Physicians should consider discussing associations between prescription medications and the likelihood of depression with patients who are prescribed medications with depression as a possible side effect.


To Learn More: The full study is available on the For The Media website.


Editor's Note: Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

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