BP Basics

Hypertension and Antidepressants

This article discusses the possible link between hypertension and the usage of antidepressant medications. In fact, you may have to face the dual risks of hypertension and depression in both antidepressants as well as hypertensive drugs. Taking depression medications may result in the side effect of exacerbating hypertension. Antidepressants can pose as a threat for incidental hypertension.

Recent studies have proven that both depression and the use of antidepressants play a role in hypertension. Although some of these studies have produced conflicting outcomes, they definitely point to a connection between depression and hypertension.

Through neurohormonal activity, which may be triggered by lifestyle changes, depression can result in hypertension. This is the reason a person who experiences lifestyle changes, may become depressed and experience hypertension. Blood pressure regulation requires regulating this neurohormonal activity.

For example, there is a positive relationship between alcohol consumption, depression and systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Smoking also has an impact on depression. But at the same time, taking antidepressants to help in quitting smoking can result in anĀ  increase in hypertension.

A study by Wassertheil-Smoller and associates showed that there is a relation between signs of depression, antidepressants and morbidity in people dealing with hypertension. The study found that antidepressants exacerbate congestive heart failure and can result in unexpected cardiac death. That is why physicians treating hypertension in people with concomitant depression should be careful. This is all the more important in case of high risk groups, such as women, elderly people and individuals with a family history of depression.

Antidepressants can treat both depression and hypertension. But, then there is the risk that the antidepressant drugs may react with anti hypertensive drugs and result in being harmful. That is why physicians have to be careful while prescribing and administering such drugs.

Beta-blockers have been traditionally used for treating hypertension. However, it is wiser to avoid using them if the individual is suffering from depression. Antidepressants like Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs) can increase blood pressure and exacerbate hypertension if they react with a chemical substance called tyramine which is found in certain foods like wine, cheese and processed meats. People who are taking MAOIs should limit the consumption of such foods

Thus studies show that while prescribing antidepressants, doctors should carefully study the profile of the patient to determine history and propensity of hypertension. This will ensure that the patients who are undergoing depression are not subject to the side effect of hypertension.