Treating depression might help people living with diabetes manage their blood sugar, according to a study conducted by Charles Drew University in Los Angeles and reported on by Reuters.

In their study, researchers enrolled 89 low-income minorities with poorly controlled diabetes. The authors note that rates of depression in people with diabetes are double those of the general population and are even higher among minorities, who are more prone to poor blood sugar control, diabetes complications and severe depression.

About half of the participants were randomly assigned to receive the antidepressant medication sertraline (sold as Zoloft) and the rest were given placebos. All of the patients attended monthly diabetes group education programs as a part of the study.

After six months, blood sugar levels of the sertraline group had fallen from 10 percent at the outset to 8 percent. Diabetes patients are recommended to stay below 7 percent.

The placebo group saw a 0.9 percent decrease (from 9.7 percent at the outset to 8.8 percent) in blood sugar levels. Both groups had similar improvements in depression, pain and quality of life.

These findings led researchers to suggest patients with diabetes should be screened for depression. Those diagnosed with depression should consider antidepressant medication.