5 Medications That Can Cause Depression — Better Life

Nobody wants to feel depressed. In fact, people are trying new approaches to improving their emotional well-being: new treatments, the right antidepressants, meditation, or a combination of all of the above. But what some may not realize is that their depression is actually caused by another kind of treatment: the drugs they take to treat other conditions.

“Several medications can cause psychiatric side effects, including depression,” says the patient advocate Michelle Lamas, BCPA, which adds that these symptoms often disappear after a few days. “However, if you notice symptoms of depression such as changes in appetite, sleep, energy level, daily behavior, concentration, self-esteem, or thoughts of suicide and hopelessness, contact your doctor immediately. doctor,” she warns. Read on to learn about five drugs that could bring you down.

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Effective in lowering blood pressure, beta-blockers work “by blocking the effects of the hormone epinephrine, also known as adrenaline,” explains the Mayo Clinic. “Beta blockers also help widen veins and arteries to improve blood flow.”

Depression is “the most commonly reported mental health side effect” of beta-blockers, reports the American Heart Association (AHA). This could be because “unusual dreams, insomnia, and trouble sleeping” can be a side effect of beta-blockers, according to the AHA. And insomnia is known to cause depression. “People with insomnia…have a ten times greater risk of developing depression than people who sleep well at night,” says Johns Hopkins Medicine.

The man wakes up at night with his head in his hands.

People who suffer from insomnia – and according to the American Sleep Association (ASA), that’s 50 to 70 million adults in the United States – know that it can be difficult to overcome. Unfortunately, VerywellMind reports that certain medications used to treat insomnia, such as benzodiazepines (which include the drugs Xanax and Valium) can lead to depression.

Additionally, “the FDA warns that people with a history of depression may experience worsening of their depressive symptoms and increased suicidal thoughts after taking Ambien,” warns the American Addiction Centers (AAC).

Doctor seeing a patient and writing on a medical record.
Khanchit Khirisutchalual/iStock

More commonly known as steroids, corticosteroids are a type of anti-inflammatory medication. “They are typically used to treat rheumatological conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or vasculitis (inflammation of blood vessels),” explains the Cleveland Clinic, which notes that corticosteroids can include the drugs cortisone and prednisone.

“Corticosteroids lower serotonin levels, [and] a drop in serotonin levels can lead to depression, aggression and other psychological disorders,” warns an article published by the National Library of Medicine. The article also states that these side effects can be treated with medications that address serotonin levels, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. (SSRI) or psycho-stimulants.

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Pharmacist talking to a man with chest pain.

“Medications that treat heartburn of the proton pump inhibitor (PPI) class, such as Prilosec, Nexium, Zantac, and Pepcid and their generics” can cause depression, Llamas warns. It may surprise people who don’t realize there’s a direct link between our stomachs — the bacteria in our gut, in particular — and our emotional health. Gut bacteria “can alter our brain function by producing certain hormones or neurotransmitters,” MedicalNewsToday explains (and in turn, “emotional responses can affect our gut bacteria”).

MedicalNewsToday says the link between stomach acid drugs and depression is “mysterious,” noting that a 2018 study on the topic suggested “drugs may increase the risk of depression by dysregulating the gut axis -brain”. [or] preventing the body from properly absorbing nutrients after using stomach medications.”

Woman taking medicine with a glass of water.

Llamas reports that certain medications used to treat asthma and allergies can cause depression, and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) reports that “the over-the-counter allergy medication, cetirizine (Zyrtec), has been linked to depression, as is another type of medication, montelukast (Singulair), which is often used to treat people with allergic asthma.”

“If you have a history of depression or other psychiatric conditions, be sure to talk to your doctor before taking any medications that can cause depression,” says Llamas, who also warns against stopping any medication. prescription before talking to your doctor. “Your doctor may prescribe another type of medicine if symptoms persist, or they may find other options to manage your symptoms.”

Best Life offers the most up-to-date information from top experts, new research and health agencies, but our content is not intended to replace professional advice. Regarding any medications you are taking or any other health questions you have, always consult your health care provider directly.

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