HealthDay News — There seems to be no association between ß-blocker therapy and depression, according to a study published online March 15 in Hypertension.

Thomas G. Riemer, MD, PhD, from Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and colleagues conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of data from double-blind, randomized controlled trials to assess the risk for psychiatric adverse events (PAEs) or withdrawal of therapy due to PAEs related to the use of ß-blockers. Odds ratios were calculated for individual PAEs and withdrawal rates for ß-blockers vs placebo or other active treatment. Data were included for 285 eligible studies with 53,533 patients.

In 79% of the studies, the risk for bias was determined to be high. The researchers found that depression was the most frequently reported PAE, with a total of 1600 cases, but it did not occur more commonly during ß-blocker treatment vs placebo (odds ratio, 1.02; 95% confidence interval, 0.83 to 1.25). There was no association seen for ß-blocker use with withdrawal for depression (odds ratio, 0.97; 95% confidence interval, 0.51 to 1.84). For comparisons against active agents, results were similar. Only unusual dreams, insomnia, and sleep disorders were possibly related to ß-blocker therapy among other PAEs.

“The possible mental health side effects of ß-blockers have been the subject of discussion in the scientific community for many decades,” a coauthor said in a statement. “So, our results showing ß-blockers are not the cause of so many of these negative side effects are quite consequential.”


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One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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