Some antihypertensives linked with mood disorder hospitalization


(Reuters Health) - Beta blockers and calcium channel blockers may increase the risk for severe mood disorder episodes, a new study suggests.

People taking these drugs were twice as likely to be hospitalized for a mood disorder such as major depression or bipolar disease, compared to people taking angiotensin antagonists, researchers report.

Dr. Sandosh Padmanabhan, of the Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences at the University of Glasgow in the U.K., and colleagues note in a paper released October 10 online in Hypertension that links between mood disorders and depression may be bidirectional.

For example, bipolar disorder is tied to about a two-fold increased risk of hypertension and cardiovascular death, they write, and major depressive disorder is tied to an increased risk of hypertension.

There is also evidence to suggest that beta-blockers are tied to mood problems, Padmanabhan told Reuters Health. Some recent genetic evidence suggest calcium antagonists may also be tied to mood disorders.

To examine the link between blood pressure drugs and mood disorders, the researchers analyzed hospital data on 144,066 patients ages 40 to 80 who had been taking antihypertensive medicines for at least 90 days - either angiotensin antagonists, beta-blockers, calcium antagonists or thiazide diuretics.

Anyone who had previously been admitted to a hospital for a mood disorder was excluded from the study.

The blood pressure patients were compared to 111,936 people not taking blood pressure medications.

Over roughly five years, 299 of the patients were admitted to a hospital for mood disorders.

Those using beta-blockers and calcium antagonists were about twice as likely to be hospitalized for a mood disorder as people taking angiotensin antagonists after accounting for factors that might influence the results, like age, sex and overall health.

Angiotensin antagonists, in contrast, seem to protect against severe mood disorder, Padmanabhan noted. People using these drugs were less likely to be admitted to the hospital for mood disorder problems than people not taking medications at all.

Dr. Maan Fares, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, pointed out to Reuters Health that the study is "based on a retrospective analysis and the evidence isn't sufficient to make any changes in our treatment patterns today."

The study does, however, confirm the need for better designed trials, he said.

Padmanabhan also cautioned that the study's findings are limited. He and his colleagues are currently looking at previous clinical trials of blood pressure drugs to see if those researchers captured data on depression, which would make it easier to confirm the findings.

Hypertension 2016.