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Antidepressant use may be higher among Type 2 diabetics

April 16, 2010 |  3:23 pm

Use of antidepressants has gone up over the years, but those with Type 2 diabetes may be taking more than the general public.

Jpcysvnc That's what researchers discovered in a longitudinal study of people with and without diabetes who were part of a Finnish study. They looked at antidepressant use among 493 people who developed Type 2 diabetes as well as a group of 2,450 people without the disease, which acted as a control. Those findings were compared with antidepressant use among 748 people who developed cancer along with 3,730 who did not. The use of antidepressants was tracked for four years before a diagnosis of diabetes or cancer as well as four years after, and for the same number of years for the control groups.

Among the diabetics and non-diabetics, antidepressant use showed the same general rise during the eight years, which researchers believe is consistent with general antidepressant use. But antidepressant usage among those with Type 2 diabetes was twice that of non-diabetics over the study period. Also, antidepressant use among diabetics spiked temporarily during the year people were diagnosed.

Antidepressant use among those with and without cancer showed the same gradual increase until cancer diagnosis, when use among cancer patients rose significantly. That use continued to decline slightly after that among cancer patients, but stayed much higher compared with those without cancer.

Researchers believe the numbers show that diabetes diagnosis may not have an enduring effect on depression risk, and that the brief spike after diagnosis could represent a real increase in depression risk.

As for why antidepressant use was higher in diabetics before diagnosis, the study authors float a few theories, including the fact that depression could increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes, since common depression symptoms are eating more--especially fat- and sugar-laden foods--and exercising less.

The study was published online this week in the journal Diabetes Care.

-- Jeannine Stein

Photo credit: Joe Raedle / Getty Images