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Vol. 66, No. 2, 1997
Issue release date: 1997
Psychother Psychosom 1997;66:63–73
Special Article

Drug-Induced Depression

Patten S.B.a · Love E.J.b
aDepartments of Community Health Sciences and Psychiatry, The University of Calgary and Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research, and bDepartment of Community Health Sciences, The University of Calgary, Canada


Background: Certain drugs may contribute to the etiology of depressive symptoms and depressive disorders. The objective of this review is to critically appraise the literature concerned with these potential etiological associations. Method: The review was based on papers uncovered in electronic literature searches using Medline, Psychlit and Psychological Abstracts. Statistical power calculations were used to assist in the interpretation of negative results. Results: A large number of publications were uncovered, but most of these were case reports. There were relatively few empirical studies. Corticosteroids, certain calcium channel blockers and digoxin have been associated with depression by replicated, well conducted studies. Psychostimulant withdrawal is also associated with prominent depressive symptoms. Preliminary evidence suggests that antihyperlipidemic agents, angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, sedative hypnotics, psychostimulants and certain hormonal agents may also cause depression. Despite an extensive literature, the potential association between β-blockers and depressive symptoms remains controversial. There is no substantial evidence that l-dopa or histamine-2-receptor blockers cause depression and the literature is relatively conclusive in determining that thiazide diuretics are not associated with depressive symptoms. Conclusions: A small, but growing, literature confirms that certain drug exposures can contribute to the biopsychosocial etiology of depressive symptoms and disorders. Current beliefs and diagnostic conventions classify drug-induced depression into a distinct category (Substance-Induced Mood Disorder): but this approach is not specifically supported by the existing literature.

 goto top of outline Author Contacts

Scott B. Patten, MD, PhD, Department of Community Health Sciences and Psychiatry, The University of Calgary, 3330 Hospital Drive N.W., Calgary, Alta. T2N 4N1 (Canada)

 goto top of outline Article Information

Published online: February 18, 2010
Number of Print Pages : 11

 goto top of outline Publication Details

Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics

Vol. 66, No. 2, Year 1997 (Cover Date: 1997)

Journal Editor: Fava G.A. (Bologna)
ISSN: 0033-3190 (Print), eISSN: 1423-0348 (Online)

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Copyright / Drug Dosage

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Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in goverment regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
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