Certain medications are known to affect the mood of some people as a side effect. For many years it has been known that one type of medication—known as beta-blockers— used to treat some people with high blood pressure, may trigger depression in people who might be prone to that problem. A new study supports that, but also showed that other types of blood pressure medication might make depression less likely.
The 5-year study was done by researchers at the University of Glasgow (Scotland), and just published in the journal Hypertension. The researchers collected data on over 144,000 people who were taking one of four types of blood pressure medication, and compared these people with 112,000 people who were not taking the medications.
The analysis noted how many of the people in the different groups were hospitalized for a major mood disorder, such as depression or bipolar disorder, during the 5 years of the study. This is what the results showed for the 4 different types of blood pressure medication:
1) People taking “beta-blockers” or “calcium channel blockers” had a 2 times greater chance of being hospitalized for mood disorder than people not taking blood pressure medication
2) People taking “ACE inhibitors” or “angiotensin receptor blockers” had a 53% lower chance of being hospitalized
3) People taking “thiazide diuretics” had no change in the rate of hospitalization for mood disorders.
Note that the chance of hospitalization was low, meaning; very few people from any of these groups were hospitalized for mental problems. But still, there were clear differences between the types of medication.
If you take blood pressure medications
If you are on medication for your blood pressure and have a tendency for depression or bipolar disorder or another major mood problem, you should discuss this with your doctor. You can find out what type of medication you are on, and if it could potentially make you more or less prone to mood problems.
One very positive result from this research is that two type of medications—“ACE inhibitors” or “angiotensin receptor blockers”—seemed to somewhat protect people from mood problems. The researchers are intrigued, and are investigating if these medications could lead to new treatments for depression.
If you do have mood problems or a tendency to that, you might talk to your doctor to see if your pills might be influencing your mood. This research is not 100% conclusive, but gives some interesting results to consider if you take medication and have mood problems. Perhaps switching to a different type of blood pressure pill could lower your risk of having mental distress.
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