Beware of Prescription Drugs That Cause Depression

Monday, 04 Nov 2013 08:21 AM

By Lynn Allison

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It was a most unusual case: The patient was so despondent that he wanted to leave his job because he believed co-workers were sabotaging his work.

A week later, he returned, even more depressed, saying he had put his house up for sale because he overheard neighbors threatening to harm his family.

Editor's Note:
Natural Hormones Help Treat Heart Disease, Depression and Chronic Fatigue

“I asked him what medications he was taking and when these thoughts began,” Dr. Robert Herman, a psychiatrist at Spectrum Behavioral Health in Arnold, Md., says. “It turns out he was suffering from depression and was hallucinating as a result of taking a common stomach medication. Once he stopped taking the medication, his mood and mind returned to normal.

“Every single thing you put into your body – supplements, medications, even eye drops affect the brain,” Dr. Herman says. “We’re also seeing that drug interactions can cause depression. People are like snowflakes. No two are the same, so you can have drug reactions that are totally unique. Speak with your doctor if you experience any adverse psychological symptoms. Don’t suffer in silence.”

Skip Lenz, one the nation’s foremost compounding pharmacists, adds that depression is a secondary or rebound reaction from many common prescription drugs.

“The drugs aren’t the primary source of depression,” he explains. “The way they treat the body may reduce the serotonin levels in the brain, which can cause depression.”

One of the most common drugs that can trigger depression is the acne medication Accutane. Roche Laboratories issued a statement in 1998 that Accutane may cause depression, psychosis, and suicide attempts. Research at the University of Texas confirmed that the drug lowers serotonin levels in the brain. Antidepressant medication that raises serotonin levels can counteract this side effect. But few people have acne serious enough to warrant going on both Accutane and an antidepressant.

More recently, asthma medications called leukotriene inhibitors that suppress the immune response have been linked to depression and suicide. Singulair is a popular brand. Ask your doctor for alternative medication if you feel blue while taking this drug.

Beta-blockers used to treat high blood pressure can also be culprits. Drugs like Inderal and Tenormin may cause fatigue and sexual dysfunction, as well as depression. Calcium channel blockers such as Calan and Procardia may be a safer bet.

Anticholinergic drugs like Bentyl used to treat gastrointestinal disorders work by blocking the effects of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that causes muscles to contract. However, it also depresses the central nervous system. Try Zantac instead, says Lenz, or if your problem is acid reflux, sleep with extra pillows to prop up your head and learn which foods trigger poor digestion.

Statins may also trigger depression. These popular drugs – Lipitor, Zocor, and Crestor are examples – are prescribed to lower cholesterol, but they also deplete the cholesterol in the brain that’s responsible for releasing mood-stabilizing neurotransmitters. For some patients, taking B12 supplementation along with fish oil can help control cholesterol without side effects.

Hormone replacement therapy medication also toys with the central nervous system and is significantly associated with depression. “Menopause is not a disease,” says Lenz. “Very often lifestyle changes such as increasing exercise and eating more fruits and vegetables can alleviate symptoms. Topical natural creams can also help.” Birth control pills may trigger depression in the same manner.

Benzodiazepine hypnotics such as Xanax, Valium, and Ativan are extremely popular medications used to treat anxiety and insomnia. However, if the liver doesn’t metabolize the drugs fully, you can get a toxic buildup that can trigger a secondary or rebound effect causing depression. 

Other medications that have been linked to depression include: Tamiflu, which treats influenza; Chantix, a stop-smoking drug; Cipro and Floxin, which are antibiotics; Demerol, Percodan, and Oxycontin, which are painkillers; and Zovirax, which treats shingles and herpes.

Editor's Note:
Natural Hormones Help Treat Heart Disease, Depression and Chronic Fatigue

The complete version of this article first appeared in Health Radar. To read more, CLICK HERE.

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