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Association of Oral Contraceptive Pill Use and Depression Among US Women

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-10-24, 13:19 authored by Julia Gawronska, Catherine Meads, Lee Smith, Chao Cao, Nan Wang, Susan Walker

Background: The link between oral contraceptive pill (OCP) and depression is still unclear. This work analyses the prevalence and correlates of major depression in US women using OCP.

Methods: This study used the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2005–2012 data to provide the prevalence and correlates of major depression in women using OCP. Major depression was defined as a score of ≥10 using the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9).

Results: A total of 6239 women aged 18–55 years were included in the present analysis. Current OCP users had a lower prevalence of major depression (4.6 %; 95 % CI, 3.2 to 6.6) compared to former users of OCP (11.4 %; 95 % CI, 10.1 to 12.9) and never users of OCP (10 %; 95 % CI, 8.3 to 12.1). Current users of OCP were significantly less likely to report major depression compared to former users of OCP (OR 0.59; 95CI%, 0.39 to 0.90) after adjusting for potential confounders. The prevalence of major depression was higher in women who were: black or Hispanic, widowed/divorced/separated, those with a low and middle income, current smokers, current users of antidepressants, and with history of cancer and thyroid problems.

Limitations: This is a cross-sectional study.

Conclusion: The prevalence of major depression among women using OCP may be lower than in former users of OCP, however, the burden of depression remains high. Further research with longitudinal follow-up for depression in women using OCP is needed to understand real world effect of the OCP on depression.



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Journal of Affective Disorders





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  • School of Psychology and Sport Science Outputs