Hidden link between antidepressants and diabetes?
Could antidepressants increase your risk for type 2 diabetes? A study published this week shows there might be a link.
Scientists from the University of Southampton in Britain found a connection between antidepressant users and diabetes. It was unclear, however, if one condition caused the other. And if so, which comes first, high blood sugar or depression?
What is certain is that some antidepressants can lead to weight gain, which is a risk factor for diabetes.
“So many diabetics live with other chronic conditions, which just drives home the need to avoid the risk factors for diabetes,” says Virginia Friesen, director of the Cardiovascular Institute at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Ill. “The good news is that diabetes is preventable with proper diet and exercise.”
Researchers said there are two major takeaways that physicians and patients can act on right now. First, people who take antidepressants should work to prevent weight gain that can potentially lead to diabetes through lifestyle changes, such as a healthy diet and sufficient physical activity.
With antidepressants being one of the most commonly used drugs in the U.S., according to the American Psychological Association, they also recommend that doctors think about screening for diabetes risk before prescribing antidepressants.
Researchers analyzed data from 22 studies, which included more than 1 million patients, and found that those who were on antidepressants were at an increased risk — by up to 60 percent — for type 2 diabetes.
Both diabetes and depression are serious conditions, and researchers say the risks and benefits must be weighed for treatment of both. Diabetes also can lead to heart disease, stroke, vision problems and kidney disease, and has been linked to dementia.
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