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Can J Psychiatry. 1996 Sep;41(7):469-76.

Case-control studies of cardiovascular medications as risk factors for clinically diagnosed depressive disorders in a hospitalized population.

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  • 1Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research, Calgary.



Certain medications used in cardiovascular therapeutics may contribute to the etiology of substance-induced mood disorders. These medications include digoxin, angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, beta-blockers, and calcium channel blockers. The objective of this study was to evaluate associations between these drugs and clinical diagnoses of depressive disorders in a population of hospitalized patients.


Two case-control studies were conducted. For each study, subjects were selected from a health records data base maintained at the Calgary General Hospital. Selection of subjects in the first study was restricted to those receiving a discharge diagnosis of congestive heart failure and in the second study to subjects receiving a discharge diagnosis of hypertension. In each of these 2 studies, a single case group was selected along with 2 control groups: a psychiatric control group consisting of subjects receiving a psychiatric diagnosis other than a depressive disorder and a nonpsychiatric control group receiving no psychiatric diagnoses. Drug exposures and other variables were recorded from a chart review.


Exposures to digoxin, beta-blockers, and calcium channel blockers were not associated with depressive diagnoses. An association was observed, however, for ACE inhibitors. An elevated odds ratio (OR) was observed in each case-control study and was stronger in female subjects and subjects over the age of 65.


This is the first reported epidemiological evidence of an association between ACE inhibitors and depressive disorders. The design of this study does not permit a determination of whether the observed association was causal. Additional studies are needed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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