MORE THAN A THIRD OF AMERICANS TAKE MEDICATION THAT CAN CAUSE DEPRESSION
Over one-third of Americans take at least one prescription drug that lists depression as a potential side effect, a new study reports, and users of such drugs have higher rates of depression than those who don’t take such drugs (Source: “Common Drugs May Be Contributing to Depression,” New York Times, June 13, 2018).
According to the study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, many patients are taking more than one drug that has depression as a side effect, and the study found that the risk of depression increased with each additional such drug taken at the same time.
About 200 prescription drugs can cause depression, and the list includes common medications like proton pump inhibitors (P.P.I.s) used to treat acid reflux, beta-blockers used to treat high blood pressure, birth control pills and emergency contraceptives, anticonvulsants like gabapentin, corticosteroids like prednisone and even prescription-strength ibuprofen. Some of these drugs are also sold over-the-counter in pharmacies.
Dima Mazen Qato, an assistant professor and pharmacist at the University of Illinois at Chicago who was the lead author of the paper, acknowledged that there are still “a lot of unanswered questions,” and that the study only points to a correlation, not a cause-and-effect relationship.
“We didn’t prove that using these medications could cause someone who was otherwise healthy to develop depression or suicidal symptoms. But we see a worrisome dose-response pattern: The more of these medications that have these adverse effects that you’re taking concurrently, the higher the risk of depression,” Qato said.
VA CREATES SMARTPHONE FUNCTION TO PROVIDE IMMEDIATE ACCESS TO VETERANS CRISIS LINE
- NASHVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – The Department of Veterans Affairs has created a smartphone function to provide immediate access to the Veterans Crisis Line. Support will be available 24/7 on both Android and Apple devices. The user will simply have to say “call the Veterans Crisis Line” and the phone will automatically dial the National Suicide Prevention Hotline which also serves as the Veterans Crisis Line. The function is being incorporated into current smart technology as part of the Help Prevent Suicide campaign. The crisis chat is a free, anonymous, confidential resource that’s available to any Service member, including members of the National Guard and Reserve, and any Veteran, even if you’re not registered with VA or enrolled in VA health care. A self check questionnaire is available at the following link along with more information.
TRANSGENDER STUDY LINKS DISCRIMINATION, SUICIDE ATTEMPTS
- Los Angeles Daily News A new study has been completed on suicide risk among transgender and gender-non-conforming people, based on the results of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey released three years ago. The risk of suicide attempts among this population overall is high: approximately 41% of survey respondents reported having made an attempt. The new study, conducted by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, found that respondents who said their sexual identity had been responded to with violence, discrimination, or rejection by family and friends were at much greater risk for suicidal behavior than others in the same population. Jodi Herman, co-author of the study and manager of transgender research at the Williams Institute, commented: “What it says to me is that those are the areas we should start looking at. There seem to be some links between negative experiences and suicide attempts that need further investigation. Experiencing discrimination, violence, family rejection — those things are definitely related in this study to elevated prevalence of suicide attempts.”