10 Classes of medication that can cause or worsen DEPRESSION
06/07/2023 // Olivia Cook // Views

A third of Americans are taking prescription medications that cause depression or worsen depression symptoms, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Network.

In this cross-sectional study conducted between 2005 and 2014, researchers indicated that these medications include the common drugs people have at home like allergy and birth control pills, analgesics and muscle relaxants, blood pressure medication, heartburn meds, anti-inflammatories and steroids.

Dr. Timothy B. Sullivan, chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Northwell Staten Island University Hospital in New York, told the Epoch Times that research has shown that most of these drugs work by affecting the balance of chemicals in the brain as well as the production and regulation of neurotransmitters involved in mood regulation.

Below is a list of 10 classes of medication that can cause or contribute to depression, with detailed information on how these medications work and the effects they may have on your mood and behavior.


A study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine indicated that antibiotics produce psychiatric side effects – most notably anxiety and depression.

Contributing to scientific articles on the good, the bad and the ugly of antibiotics, a study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine concluded that overall, antibiotics increase the prevalence of both depression and anxiety. They can also cause psychotic disorders.

The authors added that some patients taking antibiotics may suffer from an iatrogenic psychiatric disorder.


Anticholinergic drugs

Medications of this type are used to treat respiratory health issues, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), as well as allergies, heart disease, mental disorders, Parkinson's disease and urge incontinence (a sudden need to urinate).

Healthcare providers are instructed to use caution when prescribing anticholinergic medications to people with depression or schizophrenia. However, while older studies have suggested a link between their use and depression, more recent research does not show a clear association.


Anticonvulsants, or anti-seizure medications, are used to treat epilepsy. They’re also frequently prescribed as treatments for mental disorders, including bipolar disorder. Some anticonvulsant medications are used to treat migraines and neuropathic pain.

Some anticonvulsant medications are associated with depression, although results from studies are inconsistent overall.

In 2008, research published by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found that people who used anticonvulsant drugs had an elevated risk of suicidal ideation or behavior.

Because of these findings, anticonvulsant medications are sold with labeling informing users of these safety risks.


Widely-used benzodiazepines are prescribed to treat agitation, anxiety disorders, insomnia and seizure disorders. They work by binding to receptors throughout your nervous system and slowing down activity.

Although many benzodiazepines are safe when used – as directed – for short periods, there is an association between benzodiazepine use and depressive symptoms. In some cases, this can even potentially involve suicidal ideation.


Your healthcare provider may prescribe a beta-blocker if you have a heart arrhythmia, congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, hypertension (high blood pressure) and tachycardia (overly fast heart rate), or if you're recovering from a heart attack.

Beta-blockers have long been associated with depression, although study results on the link between their use and a person’s depression risk are mixed.


Corticosteroids, such as betamethasone, dexamethasone, hydrocortisone, methylprednisolone, prednisolone, prednisone, triamcinolone and many others, are prescribed to treat inflammation of the blood vessels and muscles as well as gout, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and Sjogren's syndrome.

Widely-used corticosteroid medications can cause imbalances in neurotransmitters in your brain.

These changes have the potential to affect your mental health. Corticosteroids have been shown to increase the risk of anxiety, depression, insomnia and irritability.

Many corticosteroids can cause psychological side effects, including euphoria and depression when used over the long term.

Some corticosteroids may also cause psychotic symptoms to develop, although this generally only occurs with high-dose, long-term use.

Hormonal medications

Birth control pills are associated with an increased risk of developing depression – with higher risks associated with the progesterone-only forms, including the intrauterine device (IUD). (Related: Birth control pills increase risk of depression in women.)

That the IUD was particularly associated with depression in all age groups is especially significant, because physicians have been taught that the IUD only acts locally and has no effects on the rest of the body.

In addition to birth control pills, other hormonal medications, such as the anti-androgen medications used in prostate cancer treatment, are also associated with a high risk of developing depression.

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that patients on androgen-deprivation therapy (ADT) had higher incidences of depression and inpatient and outpatient psychiatric treatment compared to patients who did not receive the therapy.

The study also found that the risk of depression increased with the duration of ADT usage – from 12 percent with less than six months to 26 percent from seven to 11 months of treatment, to 37 percent among patients being treated for a year or longer. Researchers identified a similar duration effect for inpatient and outpatient psychiatric treatment.

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs)

Widely used proton pump inhibitors are medications prescribed to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and ulcers that develop in the stomach and small intestine.

A cross-sectional study published in the journal Scientific Reports associated depression and suicidal depression with the use of proton pump inhibitors in U.S. non-institutionalized adults using data from a nationally representative survey.


Common statins are prescribed for lowering cholesterol levels.

Some research suggests that statins can cause depressed mood, anxiety, sleep problems and suicide attempts. However, a large-scale review that involved data from more than 70 studies found that statins do not appear to lead to depression symptoms in the general population.


Stimulants are prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), asthma, hypotension (low blood pressure) caused by anesthesia, narcolepsy, nasal/sinus congestion and obesity.

When misused or stopped suddenly, prescription stimulants can cause withdrawal symptoms that include depression, fatigue and sleep difficulties. Other adverse effects of stimulants include anxiety, paranoia, psychosis and physical problems, such as headaches, jitteriness and weight loss.

If you're prescribed any of these drugs, it’s important to take them exactly as directed, and tell your healthcare provider about any side effects you experience.

To know more about pills that can cause depression visit BadMedicine.news.

Watch this video to learn about medications that can change your personality.

This video is from the Objective: Health channel on Brighteon.com.

More related stories:

Depression and increased cancer risk: 6 Reasons not to take birth control pills.

The acne drug Accutane more than doubles your depression risk.

Anti-anxiety, sleep medications increase likelihood of drug abuse - relieve anxiety naturally.

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