Anti-Inflammatory Drugs May Reduce Effectiveness of Some Antidepressants

A new study has found that some anti-inflammatory medications, including ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen, can reduce the effectiveness of SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), the most commonly prescribed antidepressant medications. SSRIs are often used to treat depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. This could help explain why many people suffering from depression do not respond to antidepressant treatment.

This finding could be especially important for people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, as Alzheimer’s patients commonly suffer from depression, and the disease can worsen if the depression isn’t treated. Depression in the elderly is also a risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s disease, and research has suggested that treating depression in the elderly could reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

In the current study, researchers treated some mice with both antidepressants and anti-inflammatory drugs, and others only with antidepressants. They then examined the behavior of both groups during tasks that were sensitive to antidepressant treatment, and found that the behavioral responses to antidepressants were inhibited by anti-inflammatory medications.

When duplicated in humans, the study showed that depressed individuals who used anti-inflammatory medications were significantly less likely to find relief from antidepressants, compared to depressed patients who didn’t take anti-inflammatory drugs. About 54 percent of patients who weren’t taking anti-inflammatory drugs responded to the antidepressant, whereas only 40 percent of those who were taking anti-inflammatory drugs responded to the antidepressant.

Co-author Jennifer Warner-Schmidt of the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research at the Rockefeller University said that although the underlying mechanism of these effects isn’t yet clear, the study’s results could have important implications for patients, considering the high treatment-resistance rates for depressed people taking SSRIs.

Paul Greengard, Ph.D, also of the Fisher Center for Alzherimer’s Disease Research, added that many elderly people suffering from depression also suffer from diseases that require anti-inflammatory medication, which could be affecting their depression treatment. He concluded that physicians should carefully look at the advantages and disadvantages of prescribing anti-inflammatory drugs with SSRIs.

Source: Science Daily, Anti-Inflammatory Drugs Reduce Effectiveness of SSRI Antidepressants, Study Shows, April 25, 2011

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