Anti-inflammatory drugs may soon take over as the new anti-depressants- atleast for some people. A team of researchers have, in their new study, found how common OTC painkillers, analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs could actually help individuals tackle depression better.
The researchers studied over 6000 different individuals and found how analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs, which were commonly used to deal with muscle pain and arthritis, could work effectively in curbing the symptoms associated with depression when taken in conjunction with anti-depressants.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression is one of the top five leading causes of loss of quality of life and also life years.
In the recent years, several researches have also demonstrated a link between depression and physical illnesses, such as painful conditions or infections.
“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.
“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 personalized treatment options,” said me
dical student Ole Köhler. Köhler is the lead author of the study and also a member of the research group from Aarhus University.
“However, these effects must always be weighed against the possible side effects of the anti-inflammatory drugs. We still need to clarify which patients will benefit from the medicine and the dose-sizes required,” Köhler added.
“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,” he said.
The researchers are looking into develop a strategy which could help them determine if anti-inflammatory drugs could be effective for an individual affected by depression, and if, by running some blood tests, they could determine if inflammatory markers are present, and if the combination treatment of anti-inflammatory drugs and anti-depressants could work.
“These findings must, however, be verified before they can be implemented in clinical practice,” said Köhler.
“The analysis should be seen as a significant milestone in a research context and this could be a landmark for what future research projects and treatment need to focus on,” Köhler concluded.