What is the role of antihypertensive agents in major depressive disorder (clinical depression)?

Updated: Aug 06, 2020
  • Author: Jerry L Halverson, MD; Chief Editor: David Bienenfeld, MD  more...
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Among antihypertensive agents, beta-blockers have a reputation for being strongly associated with depression. Research on this association has been somewhat contradictory, but suggests at most a minor role in this regard. For example, a review by Ko et al found no significant increased risk of depressive symptoms with beta-blockers, although there was a small but significant risk of fatigue and sexual dysfunction. [92]

Risk appears to vary with different beta-blockers. A study by Luijendijk in elderly patients found that highly lipid-soluble beta-blockers (mostly propranolol) were associated with depressive symptoms during the first 3 months of use. [93] In contrast, pindolol may accelerate or enhance the effects of antidepressant drugs. [94]

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