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Study shows common painkillers may block antidepressants

pills_042511.jpg If you take antidepressants to manage depression, anxiety, or other conditions, new research suggests using caution when you reach for anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen.

The studies, first conducted in mice and later confirmed in human patients, showed that the most widely prescribed type of antidepressants - including fluoxetine (Prozac), citalopram (Celexa), and sertraline (Zoloft) - were less effective when taken together with common over-the-counter medications such as Bayer, Advil, and Aleve. The surprising clash between the two common types of drugs is reported today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (registration required).

A press release reports the large effects and quotes lead researchers, Jennifer Warner-Schmidt, PhD and Paul Greengard, PhD, on what their findings mean for patients and physicians:

The effect was rather dramatic since, in the absence of any anti-inflammatory or analgesic use, 54 percent of patients responded to the antidepressant, whereas success rates dropped to approximately 40 percent for those who reported using anti-inflammatory agents.

"The mechanism underlying these effects is not yet clear. Nevertheless, our results may have profound implications for patients, given the very high treatment resistance rates for depressed individuals taking [selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors]," notes Dr. Warner-Schmidt.

Dr. Greengard adds, "Many elderly individuals suffering from depression also have arthritic or related diseases and as a consequence are taking both antidepressant and anti-inflammatory medications. Our results suggest that physicians should carefully balance the advantages and disadvantages of continuing anti-inflammatory therapy in patients being treated with antidepressant medications."

Previously: Antidepressants don't improve all symptoms of depression
Photo by psyberartist

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