The Connection Between Antidepressants and Diabetes

People clinically diagnosed with depression who are taking antidepressants appear to be at increased risk for diabetes. Studies in the past have suggested a connection between people with depression and the higher occurrence of diabetes due mostly to common lifestyle choices of depressed people, but this study says that people on antidepressants could possibly increase their risk of type 2 diabetes by more than 30%.

The study, which analyzed data from numerous sources and research groups, was conducted by Dr. Lauren Brown of the University of Alberta’s School of Public Health. Dr. Brown studied the medical histories of 2,400 patients that had been diagnosed with depression. These 2,400 individuals were divided into four groups according to their form of treatment.

The four designated groups are as follows: ”those who took antidepressants that were considered older therapies, patients who were using newer treatments, those using a combination of both an old and new treatments and people who were switching medications.”

Patients treated with multiple therapies and medications, which theoretically represents a more severely depressed individual (or someone who is looking for the best form of therapy), were found to be at the greatest risk for developing diabetes. ”The risk of diabetes almost doubled for the patients who were using two types of therapies at the same time, tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).”

The conclusion and suggestion of Dr. Brown is that there is a “need for regular screening for type 2 diabetes in people with depression, particularly those taking more than one antidepressant.”

Source: Defeat Diabetes Foundation: Brown, Lauren. Leibel, Carmen. Diabetes Research & Clinical Practice news release. March 2008.