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

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


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.
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).
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.
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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)447-453
JournalFamily Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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