ISLAMABAD: High blood pressure drugs may affect not only blood pressure but also mood disorders including depression and bipolar disorder, finds a new study published in the American Heart Association's journal Hypertension.
 
Physicians should consider whether treatment of high blood pressure is having a negative impact on their patients' mental health, say researchers.

The Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences and Institute of Health and Wellbeing at the University of Glasgow in the United Kingdom conducted the research.
Depression and cardiovascular disease are major contributors to the global burden of disease. A bidirectional relationship is thought to exist between depression and heart disease due to the functional changes that underlie both conditions.

Bipolar disorder is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular mortality and high blood pressure, whereas major depressive disorder is associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure.

While there is growing evidence that the pathways that high blood pressure drugs target may play a role in the development of mood disorders - suggesting implications in prescribing these drugs in hypertensive patients who may have an underlying mood disorder - results of the link between the two have been inconclusive.

"Mental health is under-recognized in hypertension clinical practice, and the possible impact of antihypertensive drugs on mental health is an area that physicians should be aware of and consider if the treatment of high blood pressure is having a negative impact on their patient's mental health," says study author Dr. Sandosh Padmanabhan, Ph.D., a professor at the Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences.

University of Glasgow researchers aimed to determine whether high blood pressure drugs impact mood disorder by analyzing patients on different classes of antihypertensive drugs from a hospital database including 525,046 patients with a follow-up of 5 years.

Two antihypertensive drugs associated with increased mood disorder risk
From the database, 144,066 individuals were eligible for inclusion in the study aged between 40-80 years.

Participants were divided into four groups based on the single high blood pressure drug they had been prescribed: angiotensin antagonists, beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, or thiazide diuretics. The research also included a control group of 111,936 people who were not exposed to any of these four antihypertensive drug classes during the study period.

During the 5-year follow-up, researchers documented hospitalization for mood disorders, such as depression or bipolar disorder. The team began examinations after patients had taken antihypertensive medications for 90 days.

Researchers noted 299 hospital admissions among participants, mainly due to major depression at an average of 2.3 years after medication had started.

When comparing the four most common classes of antihypertensive drugs, investigators found that two drugs were associated with an increased risk for mood disorders, while one drug decreased mood disorder risk.