Antidepressants Reduce Deaths by More than a Third in Patients with Diabetes

Antidepressants reduce deaths by more than a third in patients with diabetes and depression, according to a study published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

People with diabetes are two to three times more likely to have depression than people without diabetes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Half to three-quarters of people with diabetes and depression go undiagnosed, despite therapy and medicine being very effective.

“The incidence of major depressive disorder amongst individuals with diabetes is significantly greater than the general population,” says the study’s corresponding author, Vincent Chin-Hung Chen, professor, Chiayi Chang Gung Memorial Hospital and Chang Gung University in Puzi, Taiwan. “Diabetes and depression each independently contribute to increasing total mortality.”

“The incidence of major depressive disorder amongst individuals with diabetes is significantly greater than the general population.”

In this large population-based study, researchers used the National Health Insurance Research Database in Taiwan to identify 53,412 patients diagnosed with diabetes and depression since 2000. The researchers followed this population until 2013 to see if antidepressants reduced the death rate. They found that antidepressants significantly reduced mortality by 35%.

“This data provides further rationale for the screening and treating of depression in persons who have diabetes,” Chen says.

Other authors of the study include: Hong-Ming Chen of Chiayi Chang Gung Memorial Hospital and Chang Gung University; Yao-Hsu Yang and Ko-Jung Chen of Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Chiayi, Taiwan; Yena Lee and Roger S. McIntyre of University Health Network in Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Mong-Liang Lu of Taipei Medical University in Taipei, Taiwan; Yi-Chen Lee of Chiayi Chang Gung Memorial Hospital; and Ming-Chia Hsieh of China Medical University, China Medical University Hospital and Changhua Christian Hospital in Taiwan.

The study received funding support from Changhua Christian Hospital.

The study, “Antidepressants Reduced Risk of Mortality in Patients with Diabetes Mellitus: A Population-Based Cohort Study in Taiwan,” will be published online, ahead of print.

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