“Many may be surprised to learn that their medications, despite having nothing to do with mood or anxiety or any other condition normally associated with depression, can increase their risk of experiencing depressive symptoms, and may lead to a depression diagnosis.”

~ Dima Qato, Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Systems, Outcomes and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago College of PharmacyHow the Medications You Take May Cause Depression

In early June 2018, researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago revealed a strong association between the use of prescription and over-the-counter medications and an increased risk of depression.

In fact, just among prescription drugs, there are over 200 medications that have depression or suicidal ideation listed among the potential side effects, including:

  • Opioid painkillers
  • Antacids
  • Proton pump inhibitors
  • Blood pressure and heart medications
  • Birth control pills

The Risk Is Cumulative

Importantly, it seems as if the more of these study-listed medications are taken, the greater the risk of depression becomes:

  • ZERO – 5% incidence of depression
  • ONE – 7%
  • TWO – 9%
  • THREE or more – 15%

Dr. Qato says, “The takeaway message of this study is that polypharmacy [being on more than one drug at once] can lead to depressive symptoms and that patients and health care providers need to be aware of the risk of depression that comes with all kinds of common prescription drugs — many of which are also available over the counter… this study provides evidence that patterns of medication use should be considered in strategies that seek to eliminate, reduce or minimize the impact of depression in our daily lives.”