Anthony Bourdain…Kate Spade… Before that, Robin Williams.
If it seems like more people are committing suicide these days, it’s because they are. And not only celebrities.
Suicides have increased in nearly every state over the past two decades. The number of people who killed themselves is up 24% nationwide over the last 15 years. 1 2
Why is this happening?
A new study might have found the answer….and it is in your medicine cabinet.
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy collected data on 26,000 men and women who were part of the long term U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The researchers collected 10 years’ worth of data, from 2005 to 2014.
The scientists analyzed the use of common drugs that were known to cause either depression or suicidal thoughts. They found that as the suicide rate in America has increased, the use of these drugs has also simultaneously risen by almost 50%.3
Dr. Dima Qato is an assistant professor of pharmacy systems at the UIC College of Pharmacy. She was the lead author on the study.
“Many may be surprised to learn that their medications, despite having nothing to do with mood or anxiety or any other condition normally associated with depression, can increase their risk of experiencing depressive symptoms, and may lead to a depression diagnosis,” she said.
“Patients and health care providers need to be aware of the risk of depression that comes with all kinds of common prescription drugs.”4
About 37% of Americans are using at least one drug that can cause depression as a side effect, the study found. About 15% of us are taking five or more of these drugs.5
“The more of these medications you’re taking,” Dr. Qato said, “the higher the risk of depression.”
Is it any wonder that suicides are up?
Beware of These 7 Depression-Causing Drugs
Here are seven common medications that can cause depression:6
- Proton pump inhibitors used for heartburn (common brands are Prilosec, Prevacid, and Nexium)
- H2 antagonists also for heartburn (Pepcid, Tagamet, Zantac)
- Beta blockers for high blood pressure and to control heart rhythm (Lopressor, Toprol XL, Zebeta, Trandate)
- Hydrocodone for pain (Vicodin, Lorcet, Norco)
- Ibuprofen also for pain (Advil, Motrin)
- Estradiol for menopause symptoms (EstroGel, Vagifem, Yuvafem)
- Gabapentin for nerve pain and seizures (Neurontin)
The study recently was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Beware of Stealth Side Effects
Drugs that cause depression often don’t list it as a side effect on the label. Even your doctor may not know that a medication you’re taking can affect your mood.
That means it’s important that you do some digging before you start taking a drug. Drugs.com offers a complete list of side effects for all FDA-approved medications.
If you discover that a drug you’re on causes depression, talk to your doctor about a safer, alternative treatment that doesn’t affect mood. Or better yet, explore whether a natural, non-drug alternative might work for you.
Here are a few that we have recommended before:
- For heartburn: Take astaxanthin and coconut oil instead of proton pump inhibitors or H2 antagonists.Astaxanthin is a powerful, naturally occurring carotenoid pigment found in pacific sockeye salmon, krill, trout, crab, and lobster. It’s also available in supplement form. Both astaxanthin and coconut oil lower inflammation in your digestive tract to help prevent reflux.
- For pain: Try willow bark. It works against headaches, arthritis, and back pain.
- For high blood pressure. Daily exercise can help. And so can vitamin D3. Studies have found it naturally reduces both blood pressure and arterial stiffness. Take 4000 IUs a day.
Editor’s Note: To find out more about the harmful effects of prescription medications, read our special report, The Top 10 Dangerous Pharmaceutical Drugs—And Their Natural Alternatives. It has important, potentially lifesaving information for you and your family.
Get all the details HERE.