Depression alert over progesterone-only Pill as doctors are warned to prescribe with caution
PUBLISHED:16:46 EST, 4 August 2012 | UPDATED:08:50 EST, 5 August 2012
Women who take the most widely prescribed type of contraceptive pill may be less likely to suffer depression.
New research shows that those taking the combined Pill – which contains the hormones oestrogen and progestogen (of which progesterone is the most commonly known form) – were two-thirds less likely to develop a mood disorder, but those using progestogen-only contraceptive pills were three times more likely to have a mental illness than women who were not on any medication.
The researchers who carried out the study say that doctors should use caution in prescribing progestogen-only pills because of these potential side effects.
In the new study, in the Journal of Affective Disorders, psychiatrists from universities in Australia and Norway, including Melbourne and Bergen, looked at Pill use and the prevalence of mood disorder in women aged 20 to 50.
Progestogen is known to act on the brain chemical glutamate, and research has shown that higher than usual levels of the chemical are found in the brains of patients with bipolar disorder and major depression