HealthDay News — An estimated 37.2% of people in the United States use medications that have an adverse effect of depression, according to a study published in the June 12 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Dima Mazen Qato, Pharm.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and colleagues analyzed five two-year cycles of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2005-2006 through 2013-2014) for use of prescription medications with depression as a potential adverse effect.

The researchers found that 7.6 percent of the 26,192 adults reported depression. The overall estimated prevalence was 37.2 percent for use of medications with depression as an adverse effect, which increased from 35.0 to 38.4 percent from 2005-2006 to 2013-2014. Reported use of three or more concurrent medications with a potential for depression as an adverse effect was estimated at 6.9 percent in 2005 and 2006 and 9.5 percent in 2013 and 2014. The number of medications used with depression as a possible adverse effect correlated with increased prevalence of concurrent depression, in analyses excluding antidepressant users. 

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The estimated prevalence of depression was 15 versus 4.7 percent for those reporting use of three or more medications with depression as an adverse effect versus those not using such medications.

“Use of multiple medications was associated with greater likelihood of concurrent depression,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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