Association of depression and suicidal ideation among adults with the use of H2 antagonists

(1) St Michael's School, Llanelli, United Kingdom, (2) Chan Sui Ki Perpetual Help College, Macao, China
Cover photo for Association of depression and suicidal ideation among adults with the use of H<sub>2</sub> antagonists

H2 antagonists are a common class of medications used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease. They can cross the blood-brain barrier and can affect the central nervous system. Studies have reported that the intake of H2 antagonists may lead to mental confusion, delirium, hallucinations, sleep disturbances, and depression. Using a national database, we examined the cross-sectional association between suicidal ideation and H2 antagonists. Data were obtained from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2005-2018, in which Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) scores were used to classify participants who had depression and suicidal ideation. The study population consisted of 13,533 adult Americans with PHQ-9 information, H2 antagonist use, and all other covariates. The results showed significant associations between the use of H2 antagonists and depression (P < 0.001) or suicidal ideation (P < 0.001). The covariates of education, race, marital status, poverty income rate, smoking, and a number of comorbidities were also statically significant with both depression and suicidal ideation. A multiple logistic regression model adjusted for these covariates showed that H2 antagonist users had a 2.94 (95% CI: 2.01–4.32) higher risk of suicidal ideation than non-users. This association was strongest among participants aged 50–59 years. This study shows that suicidal ideation and depression may be caused by several factors, and H2 antagonist use may be one of them. Further studies should be conducted to increase knowledge about the psychiatric effects of taking H2 antagonists, especially in long-term treatment.

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