Hormonal Contraception Poses Depression Risk

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The risk is especially high in teens.
The risk is especially high in teens.

HealthDay News -- Women who use hormonal methods for birth control may have a higher risk of developing depression, with teenagers most vulnerable, according to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry.

Ojvind Lidegaard, MD, of the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, and colleagues used Denmark's system of national health databases to track 1,061,997 women aged 15 to 34 between 2000 and 2013. They were followed for 6 years on average.

During that time, women on hormonal birth control were anywhere from 23% to 2 times more likely to start an antidepressant, compared with women not on hormonal contraceptives. The risks were larger when the researchers focused on teens aged 15 to 19. Teenagers using hormonal patches or vaginal rings, or intrauterine devices containing progestin, were roughly 3 times more likely to be prescribed an antidepressant, vs other teens. Teens on the combination oral contraceptives had an 80% higher risk of starting an antidepressant. Those on progestin-only oral contraceptives had a 2-fold greater risk.

"Our data indicate that adolescent girls are more sensitive than older women to the influence of hormonal contraceptive use on the risk for first use of antidepressants or first diagnosis of depression," the authors write.

Reference

Skovlund C, Mørch L, Kessing L, Lidegaard Ø. Association of Hormonal Contraception With DepressionJAMA Psychiatry. 2016 Sept 28; doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2016.2387.

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