Antidepressant Medication as a Risk Factor for Type 2 Diabetes and Impaired Glucose Regulation

Systematic review

  1. Richard I.G. Holt, FRCP1
  1. 1Human Development and Health Academic Unit, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton, Southampton, U.K.;
  2. 2Clinical and Experimental Sciences Academic Unit, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton, Southampton, U.K.
  1. Corresponding author: Katharine Barnard, k.barnard{at}southampton.ac.uk.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE Antidepressant use has risen sharply over recent years. Recent concerns that antidepressants may adversely affect glucose metabolism require investigation. Our aim was to assess the risk of type 2 diabetes associated with antidepressants through a systematic review.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS Data sources were MEDLINE, Embase, PsycINFO, The Cochrane Library, Web of Science, meeting abstracts of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, American Diabetes Association, and Diabetes UK, Current Controlled Trials, ClinicalTrials.gov, U.K. Clinical Research Network, scrutiny of bibliographies of retrieved articles, and contact with relevant experts. Relevant studies of antidepressant effects were included. Key outcomes were diabetes incidence and change in blood glucose (fasting and random).

RESULTS Three systemic reviews and 22 studies met the inclusion criteria. Research designs included 1 case series and 21 observational studies comprising 4 cross-sectional, 5 case-control, and 12 cohort studies. There was evidence that antidepressant use is associated with type 2 diabetes. Causality is not established, but rather, the picture is confused, with some antidepressants linked to worsening glucose control, particularly with higher doses and longer duration, others linked with improved control, and yet more with mixed results. The more recent, larger studies, however, suggest a modest effect. Study quality was variable.

CONCLUSIONS Although evidence exists that antidepressant use may be an independent risk factor for type 2 diabetes, long-term prospective studies of the effects of individual antidepressants rather than class effects are required. Heightened alertness to potential risks is necessary until these are complete.

Footnotes

  • Received March 6, 2013.
  • Accepted June 9, 2013.

Readers may use this article as long as the work is properly cited, the use is educational and not for profit, and the work is not altered. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/ for details.

| Table of Contents