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Women who take hormonal contraception more likely to be treated for depression

Women who take the combined pill are 23% more likely to be prescribed an antidepressant compared to non-users, with teenage girls at the highest risk, latest findings show. 
women

Women who take the combined pill are 23% more likely to be prescribed an antidepressant compared to non-users, with teenage girls at the highest risk, latest findings show.

Researchers from Denmark's University of Copenhagen compared users of hormonal contraception with non-users, and found more users had been prescribed antidepressants or were diagnosed with depression.

More than 1 million women aged 15-34, living in Denmark and with no prior history of depression, were included in the study. Data was collated from 1995-2013, and during a follow up period from 2000-2013, 55.5% were current or recent users of hormonal contraception.

Adolescent girls at risk

A total of 133,178 first prescriptions of antidepressants and 23,077 first diagnoses of depression were

...

Women who take the combined pill are 23% more likely to be prescribed an antidepressant compared to non-users, with teenage girls at the highest risk, latest findings show. 


Adolescent girls taking combined oral contraceptives were 80% more
likely to receive antidepressants than their peers who were not on the pill. Picture: IStock

Researchers from Denmark's University of Copenhagen compared users of hormonal contraception with non-users, and found more users had been prescribed antidepressants or were diagnosed with depression.

More than 1 million women aged 15-34, living in Denmark and with no prior history of depression, were included in the study. Data was collated from 1995-2013, and during a follow up period from 2000-2013, 55.5% were current or recent users of hormonal contraception.

Adolescent girls at risk 

A total of 133,178 first prescriptions of antidepressants and 23,077 first diagnoses of depression were detected. 

Adolescent girls taking the combined oral contraceptives were 80% more likely to receive antidepressants than their peers who were not on the pill. Those on progestin-only pills were more than twice as likely to be prescribed an antidepressant.

Women on progestin-only pills, a synthetic form of the hormone progesterone, were 34% more likely to take antidepressants or get a first diagnosis of depression than those not on hormonal contraception.

Contraception concern 

Those using the contraceptive patch, vaginal ring and intrauterine devices were also affected, the study found. 

Researchers found that, compared to non-users, those who took the pill were 23% more likely to use antidepressants, most commonly in the first 6 months after starting on the pill. 


Skovlund CW et al (2016) Association of Hormonal Contraception With Depression. JAMA Psychiatry .doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2016.2387

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