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Vol. 73, No. 4, 2004
Issue release date: July–August 2004
Psychother Psychosom 2004;73:207–215

Drug-Induced Depression: A Systematic Review to Inform Clinical Practice

Patten S.B. · Barbui C.
aDepartments of Community Health Sciences and Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada; bDepartment of Medicine and Public Health, Section of Psychiatry, University of Verona, Ospedale Policlinico, Verona, Italy

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Background: Certain medications may contribute to the etiology of depressive symptoms and disorders. Research in this area, however, has been hampered by methodological and conceptual problems. This review had two objectives: to identify evidence linking medical drugs to depressive symptoms and disorders, and to summarize this evidence in a clinically meaningful way. Methods: Electronic literature searches were performed and studies were reviewed with reference to critical methodological features. Results: No medications causing the typical major depressive syndrome were identified. Evidence was found linking corticosteroids, interferon-α, interleukin-2, gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists, mefloquine, progestin-releasing implanted contraceptives and propranolol to the etiology of atypical depressive syndromes. Conclusions: A small number of drugs have been shown capable of inducing depressive symptoms. Drug-induced depression appears to differ symptomatically from classical major depression.

Copyright / Drug Dosage

Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher or, in the case of photocopying, direct payment of a specified fee to the Copyright Clearance Center.
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.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.


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