BY MARC D. SCHWARTZ, MD
Depression seems to increase the risk of diabetes, but it has been unclear what the role of antidepressants are in this phenomenon. 2,243 adults who developed diabetes after starting anti-depressant therapy were compared to 8,962 age and sex matched patients without diabetes for a three year period. Factors found to increase the risk of diabetes were:
- 1) taking certain antidepressants (Paxil (paroxetine), Luvox (fluvoxamine), Effexor (venlafaxine), and Elavil (amitriptyline)) but not others (Prozac (fluoxetine), Celexa (citalpram) or Zoloft (sertraline))
- 2) taking above the median dose of the medication
- 3) taking the medication for a longer period of time.
But the strongest predictor of new onset diabetes was being overweight at the time the medication was started. In addition, in my experience, the diabetes inducing antidepressants are more likely than the others to cause weight gain.
Patients taking them might want to consult their physicians about been monitored for pre-diabetic or diabetic blood levels or consider a change in anti-depressant medication if that is feasible.
Dr. Schwartz is a board certified psychiatrist who specializes in the evaluation and treatment of adults with ADD. Received B.A. with honors from Princeton University, graduated from the Yale School of Medicine and, after interning at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago, received his psychiatric training at the Yale University Department of Psychiatry. He writes a monthly health blog, Medical-Intelligence.