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Common blood pressure medications may increase the risk for severe mood disorder episodes, a new study suggests.

People taking drugs known as beta-blockers and calcium antagonists for more than 90 days were twice as likely to be hospitalized for a mood disorder such as major depression or bipolar disease, compared to people treating their high blood pressure with so-called angiotensin antagonists, researchers report. 

Commonly prescribed beta-blockers include propranolol, metoprolol, and atenolol, for example. Calcium channels blockers include amlodipine, nifedipine, verapamil, and diltiazem, while losartan, valsartan, telmisartan, and candesartan are all angiotensin blockers.

Still, people on these medications shouldn’t change their prescription or do anything differently, said senior author Dr. Sandosh Padmanabhan, of the Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences at the University of Glasgow in the U.K.

“People need to take their drugs because these drugs are effective at preventing heart attack and stroke,” he told Reuters Health.

He and his colleagues write in the journal Hypertension that depression and heart disease are both common health problems, and the links between them may go in both directions.

For example, bipolar disorder is tied to about a two-fold increased risk of high blood pressure and death related to heart problems, they write. Additionally, major depressive disorder is tied to an increased risk of high blood pressure.


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