Experts from the University of Science and technology in Wuhan, China, have reviewed 26 studies, compiling data from 1610 participants, all investigating the efficacy of anti-inflammatory agents on major depressive disorders. The #anti-inflammatories included in the studies were non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (#NSAIDs) such as #ibuprofen and #aspirin, #omega 3 fatty acids, #cytokine inhibitors, #steroids, #statins, #antibiotics, #modafinil and #N-acetyl cysteine.
On compiling the results from all the studies, it was found that NSAIDs, omega fatty acids, statins and minocyclines, were 52% more effective than a placebo at reducing overall symptoms of depression and 79% more effective in eliminating symptoms than a placebo. The effect increased when added to #antidepressants. Whilst anti-inflammatories are relatively safe to use, it must be noted that people do still die each year as a result of side effects from these medications, particularly when taken for a long period of time, so further research into dosages is needed. From a clinical perspective the use of fish oil or omega three oils is a low risk intervention proposition, and a diet that favours the reduction of inflammatory responses will also provide opportunity for safe and long term reduction of inappropriate inflammatory output.
Previous research by Charles L. Raison, MD, from the University of Wisconsin showed that subgroups of depressed individuals were seen to have increased levels of #inflammatory biomarkers. He highlighted the importance of inflammation becoming increasingly relevant in clinical treatment, but that major depression is not an inflammatory disorder. When the body suffers an injury or infection the inflammatory response is triggered, an evolutionary process which has kept us alive, yet when it is sustained for a long period it can cause damage. It’s crucial to keep in mind that the relief anti-inflammatories can bring from some symptoms could be one reason that led to an increase in mood. Undoubtedly some people with depression will have inflammation, but not all, more research is needed to see what levels of increased inflammation are needed for anti-inflammatories to aid symptoms of depression and how we can assess those levels.