Associations between the Use of Antidepressants and Other Medications


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to use a pharmacy claims database to identify associations between and the timing of antidepressant and other medication use by age and sex. Material/Methods: A retrospective cohort study was conducted of the 70,519 members of the Deseret Mutual Benefit Administrators (DMBA) insurance company who were continuously covered from the years 2001-2011. Results: During 2009-2011, 13.3% of males and 21.6% of females had at least one pharmacy claim for antidepressants. Those prescribed one of 25 different drug classifications were more likely than the general population to have used antidepressants the previous year. For all of the drug classifications, the use of antidepressants was significantly more common the same year and the year after the drug was first prescribed. The positive association between antidepressant use and other selected drug classifications generally depended on age rather than sex, with the positive association more pronounced in the youngest age group. Conclusion: The positive association between antidepressant use and other selected drug classifications suggests that depression may both lead to and result from many chronic diseases. This association is the strongest among younger individuals, so this age group proves a valuable target for public health interventions.

Share and Cite:

Merrill, R. & Sloan, A. (2014). Associations between the Use of Antidepressants and Other Medications. Open Journal of Depression, 3, 24-31. doi: 10.4236/ojd.2014.31007.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Almeida, O.P., Alfonso, H., Hankey, G.J., & Flicker, L. (2010). Depression, antidepressant use and mortality in later life: The health in men study. PLOS ONE, 5, 1-9.
[2] The American Psychiatric Association (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed.). The American Psychiatric Association, Washington DC.
[3] Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System (2011). Prevalence and trends data. Nationwide (States and DC).
[4] Canham, M. (2012). Census: Share of Utah’s mormon residents holds steady. Salt Lake Tribune.
[5] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2012). QuickStats: Prevalence of current depression among persons aged ≥12 years, by age group and sex—United States, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2007-2010.
[6] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Internet) (2012). An estimated 1 in 10 US adults report depression.
[7] Clarke, D. M., & Currie, K. C. (2009). Depression, anxiety and their relationship with chronic diseases: A review of the epidemiology, risk and treatment evidence. Medical Journal of Australia, 190, 54-60.
[8] (2013). Zoloft (sertraline) drug interactions.,zoloft.html
[9] Frasure-Smith, N., & Lesperance, F. (2006). Recent evidence linking coronary heart disease and depression. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 51, 730-737.
[10] Hall, W. D., Mant, A., Mitchell, P. B., Rendle, V. A, Hickie, I. B., & McManus, P. (2003). Association between antidepressant prescribing and suicide in Australia, 1991-2000: Trend analysis. British Medical Journal, 326, 1008.
[11] Holden, K. B., Bradford, L. D., Hall, S. P., & Belton, A. S. (2013). Pre- valence and correlates of depressive symptoms and resiliency among African American women in a community-based primary health care center. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 24, 79-93.
[12] Janszky, I., Ahlbom, A., Hallqvist, J., & Ahnve, S. (2007). Hospitalization for depression is associated with an increased risk for myocardial infarction not explained by lifestyle, lipids, coagulation, and inflammation: The SHEEP study. Biological Psychiatry, 62, 25-32.
[13] Kalmar, S., Szanto, K., Rihmer, Z., Mazumdar, S., Harrison, K., & Mann, J. J. (2008). Antidepressant prescription and suicide rates: Effect of age and gender. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 38, 363-374.
[14] Katon, K., Lin, E. H., & Kroenke, K. (2007). The association of depression and anxiety with medical symptom burden in patients with chronic medical illness. General Hospital Psychiatry, 29, 147-155.
[15] Kessler, R. C., Birnbaum, H., Bromet, E., Hwang, I., Sampson, N., & Shahly, V. (2010). Age differences in major depression: Results from the national comorbidity surveys replication (NCS-R). Psychological Medicine, 40, 225-237.
[16] Lépine, J., & Briley, M. (2011). The increasing burden of depression. Journal of Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 7, 3-7.
[17] Lieberman, J. A. III. (2003). History of the use of antidepressants in primary care. The Primary Care Companion—Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 5, 6-10.
[18] Merikangas, K. R., Weissman, M. M., & Pauls, D. L. (1985). Genetic factors in the sex ratio of major depression. Psychological Medicine, 15, 63-69.
[19] Merrill, R. M., Lindsay, G. B., & Lyon, J. L. (1999). Tobacco-related cancers in Utah compared to the United States: Quantifying the benefits of the Word of Wisdom. BYU Studies, 38, 91-105.
[20] Merrill, R. M., Lyon, J. L., Baker, R. K., & Gren, L. H. (2009). Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and increased risk of injury. Advances in Medical Sciences, 54, 20-26.
[21] Mojtabi, R. (2013). Clinician-identified depression in community settings: Concordance with structured-interview diagnoses. Psychother Psychosom, 82, 161-169.
[22] Moussavi, S., Chatterji, S., Verdes, E., Tandon, A., Patel, V., & Ustun, B. (2007). Depression, chronic diseases, and decrements in health: Results from the World Health Surveys. Lancet, 370, 851-858.
[23] National Center for Health Statistics (2011). Health, United States, 2010: With special feature on death and dying.
[24] Piccinelli, M., & Wilkinson, G. (2000). Gender differences in depression. Critical review. British Journal of Psychiatry, 177, 486-492.
[25] Pratt, L. A., Brody, D. J., & Gu, Q. (2011). Antidepressant use in persons aged 12 and over: United States, 2005-2008. NCHS Data Brief, 76, 1-8.
[26] Pratt, L. A., Ford, D. E., Crum, R. M., Armenian, H. K., Gallo, J. J., & Eaton, W. W. (1996). Depression, psychotropic medication, and risk of myocardial infarction. Prospective data from the Baltimore ECA Follow-up. Circulation, 94, 3123-3129.
[27] Royal College of Psychiatrists (2012). Antidepressants.
[28] Serretti, A., & Fabbri, C. (2013). Shared genetics among major psychiatric disorders. Lancet, 381, 1339-1341.
[29] Simoni-Wastila, L., Ritter, G., & Strickler, G. (2004). Gender and other factors associated with the nonmedical use of abusable prescription drugs. Subst Use Misuse, 39, 1-23.
[30] Spence, D. (2013). Are antidepressants overprescribed? Yes. BMJ, 346, f191.
[31] Strine, T. W., Mokdad, A. H., Balluz, L. S., Gonzalez, O., Crider, R., Berry, J. T., & Kroenke, K. (2008). Depression and anxiety in the United States: Findings from the 2006 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Psychiatric Services, 59, 1383-1390.
[32] University of Maryland Medical Center (2013). Postpartum depression.
[33] US Department of Health and Human Services (2013). Mental health and mental disorders, Healthy People 2020.
[34] Walch, T. (2006). Why high antidepressant use in Utah? Deseret news.
[35] Walsh, J. L., Senn, T. E., & Carey, M. P. (2013). Longitudinal associations between health behaviors and mental health in low income adults. Translational Behavioral Medicine, 3, 104-113.

Copyright © 2021 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.