Aspirin Use Linked With Increased Depression Risk in Older Adults

An umbrella review investigating factors associated with depression in older adults found convincing evidence that acetylsalicylic acid (asprin) use, as well as living 80 years or more, increases depression risk. Researchers published their findings in the Journal of Affective Disorders.

“Identification of the potential factors that increased or decreased the risk of depression could be important to provide prevention strategies,” researchers wrote.

The umbrella review included 25 studies, of which 22 were meta-analyses and three were qualitative systematic reviews. In all, the studies spanned nearly 1.2 million participants ages 60 and older and 82 unique factors that affected depression risk in the older adult population.

The review identified 2 depression risk factors supported by evidence researchers rated as convincing: aspirin use and being age 80 or older.

An additional 4 risk factors for depression were supported by evidence researchers deemed highly suggestive: sleep disturbances and persistent sleep disturbances, hearing problems, poor vision, and cardiac disease.

Alcohol use and residing in a nursing home were not significant risk factors for increased depression risk, according to coverage of the study in Psychiatry Advisor. Factors associated with a lower likelihood of depression, meanwhile, were omega-3 fatty acid intake, healthy diet, and physical activity, according to the report.

Researchers noted, however, that most of the studies included in the review were of low quality.

“Further research is warranted to support other findings from this umbrella review using a large, well-designed cohort study,” they advised.

—Jolynn Tumolo



Wu Q, Feng J, Pan CW. Risk factors for depression in the elderly: An umbrella review of published meta-analyses and systematic reviews. J Affect Disord. 2022;307:37-45. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2022.03.062

Johnson HR. Is aspirin use tied to depression? Psychiatry Advisor. April 12, 2022. Accessed May 26, 2022.