Beta-blockers and depression in elderly hypertension patients in primary care

Lianne Ringoir, Susanne S. Pedersen, Jos W M G Widdershoven, Frans Pouwer, Josephine M L Keyzer, Arnold C Romeijnders, Victor J M Pop

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BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Previous findings regarding a possible association between beta-blocker use and depression are mixed. To our knowledge there have been no studies investigating the association of beta-blockers with depression in primary care hypertension patients without previous myocardial infarction. The aim of this study was to determine the relation between lipophilic beta-blocker use and depression in elderly primary care patients with hypertension.

METHODS: This was a cross-sectional study in primary care practices located in the South of The Netherlands. Primary care hypertension patients without previous myocardial infarction or heart failure (n=573), aged between 60 and 85 years (mean age=70±6.6), were included. All patients underwent a structured interview that included a self-report questionnaire to assess depression (PHQ-9), which was divided in four groups (PHQ-9 score of 0, 1--3, 4--8, 9 or higher).

RESULTS: A PHQ-9 score of 0 was more prevalent in non-beta-blocker users versus lipophilic beta-blocker users (46% versus 35%), a PHQ-9 score of 4--8 was less prevalent in non-beta-blocker users as compared with lipophilic beta-blocker users (14% versus 25%). A chi-squared test showed that lipophilic beta-blocker users as compared to non-beta-blockers users were more likely to be in a higher depression category. Ordinal regression showed a significant relationship between use of lipophilic beta-blockers and depression (OR=1.60, 95% CI=1.08--2.36) when adjusting for potential confounders.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings show that primary care hypertension patients who use a lipophilic beta-blocker are more likely to have higher depression scores than those who do not use a lipophilic beta-blocker.

TidsskriftFamily Medicine
Udgave nummer6
Sider (fra-til)447-453
StatusUdgivet - jun. 2014



Ringoir, L., Pedersen, S. S., Widdershoven, J. W. M. G., Pouwer, F., Keyzer, J. M. L., Romeijnders, A. C., & Pop, V. J. M. (2014). Beta-blockers and depression in elderly hypertension patients in primary care. Family Medicine, 46(6), 447-453.