top of page
Search By Tags

Certain prescription drugs may increase risk of depression

A recent study shows just how important it is to be aware of all the side effects associated with any prescription or over-the-counter drugs that you are currently taking. Published in June 2018 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, a study conducted by the University of Illinois links the use of certain prescription drugs to having a greater risk of getting depression. The study is based on data collected from surveys completed by 26,192 adults in the United States between 2005 and 2014. Amongst this group of adults, about 37% reported taking prescription drugs that list depression or suicidal thinking as possible side effects. Some of the prescription medications that the study looked at were heart medications, antacids, painkillers, proton pump inhibitors, as well as birth control medications.

According to the study, almost 15% of those individuals who used three or more of these medications that carry a risk of depression reported feeling depressed whereas 5% of those individuals who didn’t take any of the medications experienced depression. In other words, those who used a variety of these pharmaceutical drugs concurrently were found to be at a greater risk of experiencing depression in comparison to those who used fewer or none of these medications. Researchers are particularly concerned with these findings as they have also discovered an upward trend in the usage of medications that list depression and suicide as potential side effects. A similar risk may even be carried by certain over-the-counter medications, which is particularly problematic given the ease of access of those medications.

This study is a good reminder to talk to your doctor about the potential side-effects of medications that are prescribed to you. It is likewise important to inform your doctor of any symptoms of depression (such as changes in mood, fatigue, hopelessness, insomnia etc.) that you are experiencing and inquire if any of your medications may be causing or exacerbating your symptoms. This would not only help your doctor properly diagnose you but it may also inform treatment options, such as making changes to the medications that you are currently taking etc.


“Depression risks in the medicine cabinet” (2018). Retrieved from

“One-third of US adults may unknowingly use medications that can cause depression: Polypharmacy on the rise” (2018). Retrieved from

bottom of page