Patients who take anxiety or depression medication are more likely to obtain prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests, according to study findings that researchers presented at the 2022 American Society of Clinical Oncology Genitourinary Cancers Symposium.

Using 2018 data from the National Health Interview Survey, researchers assessed 5,035 male participants’ responses to the questions, “Have you ever had a PSA test?” and “What is the number of PSA tests you had in the last five years?” and stratified them by whether patients were taking medications for anxiety, depression, both, or none.

They found that patients who took medications for both anxiety and depression had significantly higher rates of PSA testing compared to men taking none; among all the groups, the average number of PSA tests in the past five years was highest in patients taking both medications. Age, living with a spouse, and prior cancer history were also associated with increased PSA testing rates, whereas being a minority, living in the Southern United States, and current smoking were associated with lower rates.

The findings reinforce the need for patient education about using PSA as a screening test. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) gives PSA testing a grade of C for men aged 55–69 and recommends that patients and providers discuss the risks and benefits of PSA testing and make an individual decision about whether to undergo screening. USPSTF recommends against PSA testing in patients aged 70 and older, giving the screening a grade of D in that age group.

“This association needs to be further explored, especially due to rising use of these medication in the current era of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the researchers concluded.

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