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Anti-inflammatories can help curb symptoms of depression, study finds

The major symptoms of depression can be curbed by anti-inflammatories, according to a new study.

Research published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry found that anti-inflammatory agents, such as aspirin, paracetamol, statins and antibiotics can help relieve the symptoms of depression.

The study analysed evidence from 26 studies and the pooled data analysis of the studies showed that the anti-inflammatory agents were 52% more effective in reducing symptom severity than a placebo, and 79% more effective in eliminating symptoms.

Researchers found that as well as helping relieve the symptoms of depression, the effects of these anti-inflammatories were even stronger when added to the patient’s standard antidepressant treatment.

The authors said that given the chronic cause of depression, quality of life and adverse effects should be further investigated in clinical trials.

However, they concluded: ‘The results of this systematic review suggest that anti-inflammatory agents play an antidepressant role in patients with major depressive disorder and are reasonably safe.’

It comes after NICE revised it’s depression guidance to warn of the severe withdrawal symptoms of antidepressants.

Readers' comments (4)

  • David Banner

    Was the placebo fluoxetine?

    Should make for some interesting consultations.
    “Well Mr Bloggs, you are clearly depressed. I suggest you buy some aspirin from Asda. Just don’t take them all at once....”

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  • If you have less pain or feel healthier you are subjectively less depressed plus some placebo effect.
    I propose a new study with a known conclusion. GPs are less depressed if the workload is reduced and mental stress from CQC, GMC, CCG, PCNs and Gross Negligence Manslaughter charges are removed.

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  • why are your presenting such a rubbish paper, its a meta-analysis, there are numerous flaws in the figures and studies used, the numbers are small and there are plenty of actual research studies that show antibiotics make no difference at all, also there was no effect detected in female only studies where the majority of depression occurs and is thought to have a hormonal element to it. rates for males and females for depression are the same in childhood, (boys slightly more than girls), and after the menopause. The effect of being female and other environmental factors alo come into play. if you don't understand all the latest research and how to interpret it stop reporting on it. you also didn't comment on the increased bleeding risks that occur.

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  • So, we should give endless supplies of antinbiotics to depressed patients?
    (we cant give nsaids, due to interactions with gastric side effects of antidepresants)
    er, would that be the 'Standard antibiotics for colds' that our local consultants are in the habit of sending pateints to GPs for??
    I'll get on it right away.
    I suppose we no longer need CMHTs and Psychiatry, we can get appropriate advice now on mental health patients from the Mmicrobiology Lab Techs! Woo-hoo!

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