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Birth control pill does not raise risk of depression

Researchers in the United States (U.S.) said hormonal birth control and other forms of contraceptive pills do not raise depression risk. These are the findings of a new study, which was published in the ‘American Journal of Psychiatry’.

Their study, which is a comprehensive review of published research of birth control methods for women with psychiatric disorders, came against the background that some women who struggle with mental health problems sometimes forgo the most effective forms of birth control medications because of worsening those issues. The Senior Study Author, Dr. Jessica Kiley, said: “For some patients with anxiety disorders, when you discuss a contraceptive’s potential side effect, they get very worried.

We’re hoping to encourage women to focus on their contraceptive needs and learn about options that are unlikely to cause depression.” Kiley is the chief of general obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, in Chicago, U.S. The hormonal contraceptives, the study authors discussed, include birth control pills, IUDs (intrauterine devices), and vaginal rings. On his part, the Corresponding Study Author, Dr. Katherine Wisner said: “When you review the entirety of the literature and ask, ‘Do hormonal contraceptives cause depression?’ The answer is definitely no.”

Wisner, who is a professor of psychiatry and behavioural sciences and obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern, is also director of the Asher Center for the Study and Treatment of Depressive Disorders at the Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.

The review authors hope the findings of this study will lead to more collaboration between gynecologists and psychiatrists, who can work together to help their mutual patients. Psychiatrists don’t typically receive enough training on contraceptives to properly counsel women on their birth control choices, according to the report. And women also should be screened for depression at routine gynecological appointments, Wisner said.

Wisner said although interactions between psychiatric drugs and contraceptives are infrequent, doctors do need to be aware of important exceptions including the antipsychotic clozapine and the bipolar/seizure drug carbamazepine, which can sometimes interfere with certain contraceptives.

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