HealthDay News — According to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry, women who use hormonal methods of contraception may be at higher risk of developing depression, especially in teenagers.

Ojvind Lidegaard, MD, of the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, and colleagues used Denmark’s system of national health databases to track 1,061,997 women aged 15 to 34 between 2000 and 2013. They were followed for 6 years on average.

During that time, women on hormonal birth control were anywhere from 23% to 2 times more likely to start an antidepressant, compared with women not on hormonal contraceptives. The risks were larger when the researchers focused on teens aged 15 to 19.

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Teenagers using hormonal patches or vaginal rings, or intrauterine devices containing progestin, were roughly 3 times more likely to be prescribed an antidepressant, versus other teens. Teens on the combination oral contraceptives had an 80% higher risk of starting an antidepressant. Those on progestin-only oral contraceptives had a 2-fold greater risk.

“Our data indicate that adolescent girls are more sensitive than older women to the influence of hormonal contraceptive use on the risk for first use of antidepressants or first diagnosis of depression,” the authors write.


Skovlund CW, et al. “Association of Hormonal Contraception With Depression.” JAMA Psychiatry. 2016 September 28. doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2016.2387. [Epub ahead of print]

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