According to a new study examining the link between blood pressure medications and depression risk, certain medication types may increase the risk of developing depression or other mood conditions as a side effect, while others may be effective for combating depression.
Previous research has provided evidence for an association between blood pressure medications and depression. People who take medication to treat high blood pressure tend to report more symptoms of depression, and severe depression has been linked to a higher risk of hypertension. Better understanding this link may help researchers develop new pathways for treating both depression and high blood pressure.
Comparing Mental Health Effects of Blood Pressure Medications
Researchers compared data from roughly 140,000 adults, including more than 32,000 taking medication for high blood pressure. The four types of blood pressure medications studied included calcium channel blockers, beta blockers, angiotensin antagonists, and thiazide diuretics.
During the five years examined, 84% of the 299 participants who were hospitalized for a mood condition were treated for persistent depression. Those on a beta blocker or calcium channel blocker were twice as likely to become hospitalized for a mood condition compared to those taking an angiotensin antagonist. Additionally, participants who took angiotensin antagonists were more than 50% less likely to be hospitalized for a mood condition compared to those on no blood pressure medication at all.
The effects of thiazide diuretics showed virtually no increase for risk of mood conditions requiring hospitalization.
Blood Pressure Medications for Mental Health Treatment?
According to the study’s authors, the findings might help bolster efforts to repurpose some blood pressure medications for mental health treatment. They may also encourage stronger label warnings related to mood conditions for some high blood pressure treatments.
Earlier research has connected some blood pressure medications with fewer symptoms related to depression, though further research is necessary before any medicines are repurposed. The researchers caution that no one should abandon their current course of treatment without consulting their physician.
Study authors compared hospital data that included patients’ mental health histories and their blood pressure rates. The mood condition data was limited to severe cases for which hospital admission was necessary, and the study’s authors point out that other factors beyond high blood pressure medicine may have contributed to some of the mood conditions present.
The authors of the study chose to identify the findings only by the types of medications used rather than by specific brands. The results could help determine the role such medications can play in offering new avenues of treatment for mental health issues.
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- Searing, L. (2016, October 17). Blood pressure drugs linked to depression and other mental-health disorders. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/blood-pressure-drugs-linked-to-depression-and-other-mental-health-disorders/2016/10/17/e06f1262-9176-11e6-9c85-ac42097b8cc0_story.html
- Senthilingam, M. (2016, October 11). Blood pressure meds could raise risk of depression. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/10/health/blood-pressure-drugs-depression-bipolar-disorder/
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