Link between antidepressants and Type 2 diabetes

Those who are taking antidepressants may be at a greater risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.

Recently, the number of Americans taking antidepressants has increased. In 2005, there were 27 million patients that had been prescribed drugs for mental health issues. This was up more than 100 percent from 1996, when there were 13.3 million individuals taking antidepressants. Many health care professionals attribute this spike to a better awareness of the importance for maintaining mental health among the population.1 However, some research has shown that these drugs may actually increase the risk of patients developing other health issues.

A review of the evidence
Professionals from the University of Southampton were well aware of the increase of antidepressant usage and also understood that many of these drugs adversely affect glucose metabolism in the body. Therefore, they aimed to see how these medications affected a patient's risk for developing Type 2 diabetes by reviewing previously published studies on the subject.2

Through their investigations, researchers found that antidepressants were the third most widely prescribed drugs in the United States, based on a 2011 study. Additionally there were 46.7 million prescriptions for these medications in the United Kingdom that same year. More importantly, another study found that those who were taking antidepressants were more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes. In total, 22 studies and three other reviews were included in this investigation.

"Our research shows that when you take away all the classic risk factors of Type 2 diabetes; weight gain, lifestyle ect, there is something about antidepressants that appears to be an independent risk factor," Dr. Katharine Barnard, who led the study, said in a statement.3

Based on this information, researchers urge doctors to be aware of the potential risk for Type 2 diabetes when prescribing antidepressants to patients. This is even more important when the medications are used in high doses or for extended periods of time. Health care professionals can monitor those on antidepressants for Type 2 diabetes and encourage them to maintain healthy lifestyles to deter the onset if this disease.

Whether or not you're taking antidepressants, Medex Supply can provide you with the necessary medical supply equipment for living with diabetes. Products include:

1 Medical News Today, "What are antidepressants?" July 26, 2012
2 American Diabetes Association, "Antidepressant medication as a risk factor for Type 2 diabetes and impaired glucose regulation" October 2013
3 Medical News Today, "Antidepressants linked to higher risk of Type 2 diabetes" September 25, 2013

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