Do Happy Pills Today Lead to Diabetes Tomorrow?

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Mendonca_121113For many people, antidepressants can be an essential life-saving tool. These medications, although often stigmatized, help improve quality of life, giving hope to people filled with despair. But while they help your mental health get on track, are they causing damage to your physical health?

Antidepressants are one of the most commonly used drugs in the U.S., with nearly one in 10 people taking them daily. The rate of antidepressant use has increased nearly 400%  over the last two decades, according to a 2011 study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Yet, doctors may want to start being a bit more stringent in prescribing them, because researchers from the University of Southampton found a link between some anti-depressants and worsening glucose control. They found that it can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes by up to 60%, according to their new study published in the journal Diabetes Care.

They reviewed over 20 studies and found a link between deteriorating glucose control and the use of some antidepressants.

One study looked at numerous individual reports that covered the changes in blood sugar linked to the use of antidepressants. It included people with normal blood sugar levels who developed high blood sugar anywhere from three weeks to five months after starting antidepressants. Blood sugar levels returned to normal after people stopped taking the drugs.

The researchers also found 21 larger studies that ranged in size from 1,000 to more than 200,000 participants and yielded conflicting results.

In one instance, a study, including approximately 166,000 people who suffered from depression, was reviewed and the researchers looked at 2,200 of them who were later diagnosed with diabetes. They found that those with modest to high antidepressant use over a two-year span were 84% more prone to be diagnosed with diabetes compared to those without recent use.

“Some of these drugs can have some very bad side effects if you stop taking them suddenly,” says Marjorie Cypress, nurse and spokesperson for the American Diabetes Association. “If you have concerns, always talk to your healthcare provider.”

She also notes that “keeping your weight down and exercising are probably the best things you can do to prevent (type 2) diabetes.”

This doesn’t mean that antidepressant users should stop refilling their prescriptions.

“There may be a causative link between antidepressants and diabetes, but…the risk is probably low, and the majority of patients receiving antidepressants will not develop diabetes as a result of their medication,” the researchers write in the study.

What you should do is share your apprehensions with your therapist, so together you can make a decision that is in the best interest of your health, both physically and mentally.

You can also consider trying natural remedies for depression, as well, such as exercise.

Source(s) for Today’s Article:
Stanczak, D., “Do Antidepressants Lead to Diabetes?” Men’s Health News web site;

“Antidepressants linked to higher risk of type 2 diabetes,” MNT web site, September 25, 2013;
Taylor, M., “Will antidepressants give you diabetes?” Prevention web site;