Medicines that Cause Depression (cont.)
Drugs That May Cause Depression
The following drugs have been reported to
cause depression in some patients. Elderly people are particularly at risk.
- Accutane: This drug treats severe acne.
- Antabuse: This medicine is
used to treat alcoholism.
- Anticonvulsants: Anticonvulsants are used to control
epileptic seizures, examples include
- Barbiturates: These
are a group of central nervous system depressants that slow down brain function.
These medicines have been used to treat anxiety and to prevent epileptic
seizures. They are commonly abused; examples are phenobarbital and secobarbital.
- Benzodiazepines: This group of central nervous system depressants is often used
to treat anxiety and insomnia and to relax muscles; examples include Ativan, Dalmane, Halcion, Klonopin, Librium, Valium, and Xanax.
- Beta-adrenergic blockers
-- Also known as beta-blockers, these medicines are used in the treatment of
various heart problems, including high blood pressure, heart failure, chest pain
caused by angina, and certain abnormal heart rhythms. They may also be used to
treat migraine headaches; examples include Lopressor, Tenormin and Coreg.
- Bromocriptine (Parlodel): This is a medicine used to treat Parkinson's disease.
- Calcium-channel blockers: This group of medicines slows the heart rate and
relaxes blood vessels. Calcium channel blockers are used to treat high blood
pressure, chest pain, congestive heart failure, and certain abnormal heart
rhythms, examples include Calan, Cardizem, Tiazac, and Procardia.
This class of female hormones is often used in hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
to treat menopause symptoms and to prevent or treat osteoporosis; examples
include Premarin and Prempro.
- Fluoroquinolone antibiotics: Examples of these
drugs include Cipro and Floxin.
- Interferon alfa: This drug is used to treat
certain cancers as well as hepatitis B and C.
- Norplant: This is a medicine used
for birth control.
- Opioids: This group of narcotics is used to relieve moderate
to severe pain. These drugs have a high potential for abuse and addiction;
examples include codeine, morphine, Demerol, Percodan, and OxyContin.
These medicines are used to lower cholesterol, protect against damage from
coronary artery disease, and prevent heart attacks; examples include Mevacor,
Zocor, Pravachol, Lescol, and Lipitor.
- Zovirax: Doctors prescribe this drug to
treat shingles and herpes.
What Should I Do If My Medicine Causes Depression or Mania?
When a medicine produces symptoms of mania or depression, your doctor may
recommend discontinuing the drug or reducing the dosage (if possible). If this
is not possible, your doctor may treat the manic or depressive symptoms with
Should I Stop Taking a Drug If It Causes Depression or Mania?
If you do experience depression or mania while taking one of these
medications or any other, call your doctor immediately. Do not stop taking the
medicine unless directed to do so by your doctor. In all cases, the risk of side
effects must be balanced against the risk and discomfort of not treating the
WebMD Medical Reference
SOURCES:Last Editorial Review: 7/24/2012
National Institute of Mental Health: "What is Depression?"
American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of
Mental Disorders: DSM-IV-TR, American Psychiatric Pub, 2000.
Fieve, R. Bipolar II, Rodale Books, 2006.
Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg, MD on July 24, 2012
© 2012 WebMD, LLC. All
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
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