Ibuprofen, Aspirin, Other Painkillers may Impact SSRI Antidepressants

We’ve previously reported that some NSAID painkillers adversely impact <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/ssri_antidepressants">SSRI antidepressant medications, such as Prozac, Celexa, Lexapro, Paxil, and Zoloft, to name some. Now, CTV says that painkillers such as ASA and ibuprofen might interfere with antidepressants, minimizing their effects.

A prior study on which we’ve written found that people taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants and the anti-inflammatory class of painkillers known as nonsteriodal anti-inflammatory painkillers (NSAIDs) could experience decreased SSRI benefits. Experiments involving mice, along with human data,  indicate that NSAIDs could decrease SSRI efficacy.

Now, more recent research conducted on humans and mice, although not complete enough to definitively prove NSAIDs stop SSRIs from working, say the study authors, find a need for more research, according to their piece in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, or PNAS, said CTV.

Scientists at the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research at The Rockefeller University conducted tests first on mice and then on humans and found that mice who were on both NSAIDs and SSRIs did “worse on tests measuring their stress and depression than those that weren’t taking painkillers,” said CTV. Other tests found that those mice on the SSRI Celexa and an NSAID tested with lower Celexa levels versus those only on an SSRI, added CTV.

On humans, data from a prior clinical trial of 4,000 people diagnosed with depression was analyzed. The study found that people taking an NSAID were less likely to experience depression relief versus people who were not taking an NSAID, wrote CTV.

A little more than half of those—54 percent—on antidepressants alone reported that they were responding to their SSRIs; however, that rate dropped to 40-to-45 percent when NSAIDs were also taken, said CTV. In some cases, said the researchers, people were taking NSAIDs regularly while, in other cases, participants only took two painkillers once or twice in the 12-week study period.

Dr. Jennifer Warner-Schmidt, who helped lead the study, said it remains unknown why NSAIDs could affect how SSRIs work. “Nevertheless, our results may have profound implications for patients, given the very high treatment resistance rates for depressed individuals taking SSRIs,” she said in a statement, quoted CTV.

While the research results were surprising, the team said results could be helpful in the treatment of Alzheimer’s. “Many elderly individuals suffering from depression also have arthritic or related diseases and as a consequence are taking both antidepressant and anti-inflammatory medications,” Dr. Paul Greengard, another of the study’s authors, quoted CTV. “Our results suggest that physicians should carefully balance the advantages and disadvantages of continuing anti-inflammatory therapy in patients being treated with antidepressant medications,” Dr. Greengard added.

The researchers planning another study that will follow people taking SSRIs over time.

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