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Several drugs commonly used to treat high blood pressure may put individuals at an increased risk of suffering from depression and other mood disorders, according to the findings of a new study.
Patients who took two types of antihypertensive medications used to treat high blood pressure faced a two-fold increased risk of suffering from depression, bipolar disorder and other mood disorders, according to researchers from the United Kingdom. Their findings were announced in an October 10 press release by the American Heart Association, and are to be published in the medical journal Hypertension.
Researchers say the findings indicate blood pressure medications can affect a person’s mood, either positively or negatively, and in some cases can cause depression.
The study focused on four types of blood pressure medications: calcium antagonists and beta blockers, as well as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and thiazide diuretics.
Data from more than 525,000 patients ages 40 to 80 were evaluated from two large Scottish hospitals as part of the study. Half of the patients were treated for high blood pressure with either ACE inhibitors and angiotensin antagonists, like Vaster or Accupril, calcium antagonists like Norvasc or Cleviprex, beta blockers like Lopressor or Bystolic, or thiazide diuretics like Diuril.
Those patients were compared to the control subjects not taking any type of blood pressure drug. They were followed for five years and hospitalizations for mood disorders were documented.
Researchers concluded calcium antagonists and beta blockers were associated with an increased risk for mood disorders. Drugs like Norvasc, Cleviprex, Lopressor and Bystolic, had two-fold increased risk of hospital admission for depression and other mood disorders compared to patients on the other drugs.
Patients taking ACE inhibitors, like Vaster and Accupril, and angiotensin receptor blockers, like Benicar or Avapro, experienced a decrease in mood disorder risk. Thiazide drugs like Diuril did not affect a patients mood disorder risk.
After 90 days on the medications researchers noted more than 300 hospital admissions occurred for major depression. Most occurred about two years after beginning the meds.
Patients on angiotensin antagonists had the lowest risk for hospitalization with mood disorders compared to other patients taking the other meds and no medication at all. Patients taking thiazide had the same level of risk for mood disorders as the control group who were not taking any medications.
Overall, other coexisting medical conditions also increased a patient’s risk of mood disorders. But researchers noted that doctors may be able to turn to a new class of drugs to help people battling depression and other mood disorders.
“Mental health is under-recognized in hypertension clinical practice, and the possible impact of antihypertensive drugs on mental health is an area that physicians should be aware of and consider if the treatment of high blood pressure is having a negative impact on their patient’s mental health,” Dr. Sandosh Padmanabhan, lead author of the study, said in the press release.
Researchers also emphasized the study only evaluated severe forms of mood disorders. They called for further research into the effects of blood pressure medications on mood disorders, especially on minor mood changes.