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NEW YORK (CBSMiami) – Many people don’t realize they are at risk for depression because of the medicines they take.

A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association estimates more than one-third of U.S. adults use prescription drugs that have depression or suicide listed as potential side effects. The 200 commonly used medications include birth control pills, blood pressure medications, heart medications, antacids, and painkillers.

The study found multiple medications increased the risk. Fifteen percent of adults in the study who took three or more of these medications at the same time experienced depression – compared to just five percent who took none and seven percent who took one.

But there are questions.

“It could, in fact, be that the drugs are leading to depression, however, it could be that people had pre-existing depression. It could be the chronic conditions people are taking the medications for, heart conditions, cancer, is what’s really causing the depression, not the drugs,” said Dr. Tara Narula.

With depression one of the leading causes of disability and suicide rates on the rise, health experts say it’s important that people who take medications be aware of their side effects, especially if they have a history of mental health issues.

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