When we think of medication side effects, we typically think of symptoms like drowsiness or nausea, but treatments for certain issues can also have an effect on your mental health. There are a number of common medications that cause depression, depending on your body chemistry, and the other medications you may be taking, and being aware of these medications can help make sure you're getting the optimal treatment that works best for your issues as well as your mental wellbeing. Depression as a side effect won't necessarily happen to everyone, but because it's a possibility, it's important to be aware of these medications' potential to cause a shift in your mood.
"There are many drugs used to treat other health conditions whose formulation may alter brain chemistry in some people," clinical psychologist Dr. Sanam Hafeez tells Bustle. "This has to do with the way the drug is absorbed in the body, how long it remains in the body and how the brain responds to it. It's important for people to be mindful of a shift towards depression and mention it to their doctors. Again since everyone is different, these drugs may or may not cause depression."
Here are seven common medications that have depression has a side effect, so that you can be mindful of your mental health if you are taking them.
Accutane and other other isotretinoins, such as Absorica, Amnesteem, Claravis, Myorisan, Zenatane, have been linked to depression. "Accutane has become a less popular option for severe acne, amongst other conditions, due to fears of severe side effects in multiple body systems, including a link to depression," psychiatrist Dr. Steve Levine tells Bustle. If you are currently using one of the above medications to treat acne, and are noticing shifts in mood, speak to your dermatologist or doctor about other options that may have less of an impact on your mental health.
Beta blockers such as propranolol are common medications used to treat conditions like high blood pressure, heart rate irregularities, and even stage fright. "This class of drugs is very commonly thought of as linked to depression, but proof of this connection remains controversial," says Dr. Levine. Although some studies suggest that there isn't a link, be mindful of depressive symptoms if you are on beta blockers, and speak with your doctor if you notice changes in mood.
"Corticosteroids, such as Prednisone, that treat inflammation as well as specific disorders carry the side effect of depression," Patricia Allen, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner and executive director of medical services for Summit Behavioral Health, tells Bustle. "Steroids impact serotonin," which is very important in mood regulation." This side effect is actually quite common and often under-recognized during treatment, according to Dr. Levine. It can occur immediately or even in the weeks following the medication. If you notice these side effects, don't be afraid to speak up. Your doctor may be be able to help you adjust your course of treatment accordingly.
Medications used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), such as Methylphenidate (Ritalin), has been known to cause mood issues. "These increase dopamine levels in the body, and researchers believe that the more exposure people have to dopamine, the more likely they'll get depressed," says Dr. Hafeez. Of course this isn't the case for everyone, but look out for changes in your mental health and alert your doctor about them if you are currently taking this medication.
Benzodiazepine hypnotics are drugs that treat insomnia or anxiety, such as Xanax, Valium, Ativan, and Halcion. "These impact the central nervous system, so if they aren't fully metabolized by the liver, they can build up in the body," says Dr. Hafeez. "This leads to that draggy, sluggish hangover effect, which leads to feeling depressed." Although Benzodiazepines aren't typically taken as the main course of treatment for anxiety or insomnia, take note if this prescription is causing depressive symptoms in you.
Anticonvulsants, such as Neurontin, Topamax, Tegretol, can cause depression in some people, according to Allen. These medications are used to treat epilepsy, and, sometimes, ironically, mood disorders. As with all other medications, pay attention to any potential side effects if you are prescribed anticonvulsants, and discuss them with your doctor if they are impacting your life.
7Birth Control Pills
Birth control pills and other medications that treat hormonal irregularities can cause depression as well. Research out of Denmark recently found that an increased risk of depression is associated with all types of hormonal contraception. If you find that your current method of contraception is affecting your mood, speak with your doctor about alternatives that work with your lifestyle.
If you are taking any of these medications, be mindful potential side effects, and speak with your doctor if depression or mood shifts become an issue.