Depression symptoms can occur due to medication side effects or drug interactions. In most cases, changing medication is all that is required to alleviate depression symptoms caused by that particular medicine. If you think a medication you are taking is causing your depression, talk to your doctor.

Depression and Medications

A number of common medications are capable of causing depression symptoms. These are not the only medications capable of causing depression, but only a selective sample.

Note that in all cases, depression is only a possible side effect of these drugs. Most people don’t experience depression symptoms when taking these medications. Even if side effects may occur, however, the potential benefit of medication is usually worth the risk. Always consult with your doctor before you stop taking a medication.

Depression Medication

Antidepressant medication can be very effective depression treatment, but it can also worsen existing symptoms. For this reason, people starting depression medication should be carefully monitored during early treatment. Worsening depression symptoms can result in thoughts of self-harm or suicidal behavior, particularly in children and young adults.

Depression medication alters brain chemistry, so it is perhaps not surprising that in some cases, the medication worsens depression. Fortunately, many different types of antidepressants are available. Should one drug worsen symptoms, it can usually be replaced with a different class of depression medication.

Depression and Medications for Mood Disorders

In addition to depression medication, a number of other psychiatric medications can cause depression symptoms. Anti-anxiety drugs, anti-psychotic drugs and mood stabilizers all carry the risk of depression side effects.

Hypertension Drugs, Cholesterol Medication and Depression

Hypertension and cholesterol medications can cause depression symptoms, as can some medications for cardiac disease. These medications affect the brain as well as the rest of the body, and can lead to depression in some people.

Examples of hypertension medications that can trigger depression include beta-adrenergic blockers and calcium channel blockers. Statins, a type of cholesterol medication, can also cause depression symptoms.

Other Medications and Depression

Other medications capable of causing depression symptoms include:

  • Anticonvulsants (used to control seizures)
  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Bromocriptine (used to treat Parkinson’s disease)
  • Fluoroquinolone antibiotics
  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • Interferon (used to treat certain cancers)
  • Isotretinoin (a prescription treatment for acne)
  • Narcotics
  • Opioids
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Vinblastine and vincristine (used to treat certain cancers).

Depression and Medication Interactions

Interactions between different drugs – both prescription and non-prescription – can cause unexpected side effects, including depression symptoms. Providing your doctor with a complete list of current medications is the best way to avoid drug interactions.

Remember that prescription medication can also interact with:

  • Alcohol
  • Herbal remedies
  • Illicit drugs
  • Over-the-counter medicine
  • Vitamin supplements.

Taking herbal supplements containing St. JohnÕs Wort, for instance, can interfere with depression medication, as well as other drugs you may be taking.


Brendel, D. (2008). Are there medications that cause depression? Retrieved May 8, 2010, from the ABC News website:

Merck Manuals Online Medical Dictionary Staff. (2008). Depression. Retrieved May 8, 2010, from the Merck Manuals Online Medical Dictionary website:

Wrong Diagnosis Staff. (1998). Depression. Retrieved May 8, 2010, from the Wrong Diagnosis website:

 Posted on : June 26, 2014