Do Beta-Blockers Cause Depression?

Laura S. Lehman, PharmD

Disclosures

August 28, 2014

In This Article

Summing It Up

Barron and colleagues concluded that few side effects reported in these clinical trials were genuinely caused by beta-blockers and that beta-blockers appear to lessendepression. They emphasize that when inquiring about patient side effects, clinicians must be careful not to imply that future depression symptoms would be a result of the drug. Doing so risks abandonment of beta-blocker therapy in these patients, because they may tie symptoms of depression to the drug therapy. The authors give specific recommendations for educating patients about beta-blocker side effects.[8]

In conclusion, the verdict on beta-blockers and depression is still somewhat undetermined despite decades of use and many clinical studies. Although depression has deleterious effects after MI, this concern should not necessarily preclude the use of beta-blockers in these patients or in those with HF. Although there is a lack of definitive evidence supporting an association, by listing depression as a side effect and inquiring about depressive symptoms when assessing patients, clinicians may end up discontinuing or avoiding beta-blockers unnecessarily in patients with MI or HF who stand to gain significant mortality benefits from their use.

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