Ordinary over the counter painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs may also be effective in the treatment of people suffering of depression, according to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry.
In recent years research has demonstrated a correlation between depression and physical illnesses, such as painful conditions or infections in the individual patient.
“The meta-analysis supports this correlation and also demonstrates that anti-inflammatory medication in combination with antidepressants can have an effect on the treatment of depression,” said Ole Köhler, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark. “When combined, they give an important result which, in the long term, strengthens the possibility of being able to provide the individual patient with more personalised treatment options.”
“However, these effects must always be weighed against the possible side effects of the anti-inflammatory drugs,” he added. “We still need to clarify which patients will benefit from the medicine and the dose-sizes required. The biggest problem with depression is that we do not know the causes that trigger the condition in the individual patient.”
“Some studies suggest that the choice of antidepressant medication can be guided by a blood sample that measures whether there is an inflammatory condition in the body,” said Köhler. “Other studies show that the same blood samples could be used as a guideline on whether a depressive patient can be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs that works better when there is inflammation present simultaneously with the depression. These findings must, however, be verified before they can be implemented in clinical practice.”
He emphasised that it is not possible to conclude on the basis of the meta-analysis that an inflammatory state can be the sole explanation for a depression.
The meta-analysis was based on 14 international studies with a total 6,262 patients who either suffered from depression or had individual symptoms of depression.
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