Antidepressant Drugs Raises Diabetes Risk by 30 Percent

by David Gutierrez

(NaturalNews) The use of antidepressant medications significantly increases a person's risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, according to a study conducted by a researcher from the University of Alberta, Canada, and published in the journal Diabetes Research & Clinical Practice.

Researcher Lauren Brown concluded that people with a history of depression had a 30 percent higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes than people without such a history. She also found that mixing tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) resulted in twice the diabetes risk of taking only one kind of antidepressant.

Brown reviewed the records on 2,400 people undergoing treatment for depression and divided them into four groups: those taking TCAs, those taking SSRIs, those taking both, and those switching between varieties.

Drugs such as Elavil and Aventyl are in the older TCA family, first introduced in the 1950s. The newer SSRIs, including Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft, were first introduced in the 1990s.

Approximately 10 percent of patients in the study were taking both TCAs and SSRIs, doubling their diabetes risk relative to patients taking only one kind of drug.

Brown said it was not clear whether the patients' diabetes risk was increased by the drugs, or if some other factor, such as the depression itself, might not be to blame. According to Brown, people are most likely to be prescribed both TCAs and SSRIs "if they have severe depression or if they are having a problem finding the right therapy." She suggested that patients taking both drugs might simply have more severe depression that is causing them other health problems.

"Depression can be so debilitating," Brown said. "There's decreased motivation, weight gain; some people can barely get out of bed in the morning, so you obviously don't take care of yourself (physically) the way you would if you weren't depressed."

Depression has been correlated with an increased risk of obesity, a risk factor for Type 2 diabetes.

Brown urged regular diabetes screening for people who are depressed, particularly those taking more than one antidepressant.