BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A study focused on more than 1 million Danish women has linked depression with hormonal contraception, and the highest correlation was found among adolescents.
Women between 15 and 34 years old were observed for the study, the results of which were published last week in JAMA Psychiatry.
Researchers found that users of combined oral contraceptives — which use both estrogen and progestin to prevent pregnancy — had a 23 percent increased rate of subsequent antidepressant use compared with nonusers.
The increased rates for users of progestogen-only pills, patches, vaginal rings and IUDs were even higher — 34 percent, 100 percent, 60 percent and 40 percent, respectively.
For depression diagnoses, similar or slightly lower estimates were found.
The correlation was even higher in younger women.
Women between 15 and 19 years old using combined oral contraceptives had an 80 percent increased rate of subsequent antidepressant use compared with nonusers, and users of progestin-only pills were 120 percent more likely to take anti-depressants.
According to the study, the lifetime prevalence of depression is about twice as high in women as in men across different populations, but before puberty, girls are found to be equally or less depressed than boys.
Researchers say further studies are warranted to examine depression as a potential adverse effect of hormonal contraceptive use, but that “health care professionals should be aware of this relatively hitherto unnoticed adverse effect of hormonal contraception.”