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Are Your Medications Triggering Depression?

Are Your Medications Triggering Depression?

Why you might want to take a second look at your prescriptions.

When Richard Farina wrote Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me in 1966, he knew the Beat and Hippie subcultures from the inside out—and felt the world was so topsy-turvy that feeling down was a kind of new normal, fueled in part by drugs.

Finding that depression is a new normal because of common drugs they take is something an astounding 37 percent of American adults can relate to, according to a study published in JAMA.

Researchers looked at the medication use of more than 26,000 adults from 2005 to 2014. Turns out 203 often-used prescription drugs, some of which are also available over-the-counter, have depression and/or suicide listed as side effects. The meds included proton pump inhibitors and antacids, as well as sedatives, anti-seizure meds, hormonal contraception, blood pressure and heart medications and painkillers.

The research also showed that if you’re taking more than one of these, your risk of depression increases. Around 15 percent of adults who use three or more—which is not uncommon—experience depression, compared to 5 percent of folks taking none, and 7 percent of those taking just one. Drugs listing suicide as a potential side effect showed similar results.

So if you’re feeling fatigued, sleeping too much or not enough, are sad, disengaged or think about suicide, talk to your doctor about the Rx and OTC meds you’re taking. You may want to explore alternatives, including lifestyle changes that could ease pain and digestive woes and lower blood pressure, or opt for non-hormonal contraception.

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