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New Anti-Inflammatory Drugs Could Help With Depression Treatment

A new review published by the Molecular Psychiatry Journal found that a new group of anti-inflammatory drugs might be effective in treating depression. While this is promising for treatment of depression, it also has implications in the cause of depression.

A new review published by the Molecular Psychiatry Journal found that a new group of anti-inflammatory drugs might be effective in treating depression. While this is promising for treatment of depression, it also has implications in the cause of depression.

 

The new anti-inflammatory medications – which are used to treat chronic diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis – were recently found to reduce the symptoms of depression. The study did not test the drugs as a treatment for depression. Rather, they tracked the symptoms of depression in individuals with autoimmune disorders who were taking the anti-inflammatory drugs. The findings of the study were indicative of inflammation being at play in individuals suffering from depression.

 

“It’s becoming increasingly clear to us that inflammation plays a role in depression, and now our review suggests that it may be possible to treat these individuals using some anti-inflammatory drugs,” Dr. Golam Khandaker, a psychiatrist at the University of Cambridge in England and the lead author of the review.

 

“These are not your everyday anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, however,” he added.

 

The drugs the researchers focused on were a group that target cytokines – an inflammatory protein in the body that is made when the immune system is fighting off depression. In individuals with autoimmune disorders, cytokines are created in error and end up causing damage to the healthy cells.

 

According to the authors of the study, there has been previous research suggesting a link between blood cytokine levels and that person’s risk of depression. Further, another previous study from the same researchers found that children with high levels of cytokines in their blood were more likely to develop depression or psychosis in adolescence.

 

In the new study, the researchers looked at seven randomized control trials in which some participants were given a cytokine-reducing anti-inflammatory while others were given a placebo. They found that the individuals who took the anti-inflammatory showed “significant improvement” over those who took the placebo. Moreover, they found that even when the anti-inflammatory did not help with physical symptoms, the individuals still showed improvement in their depressive symptoms.

 

The results of the study also suggest that anti-inflammatory drugs may be helpful in treating depression in individuals who do not respond to anti-depressants – such as those with high levels of inflammation.

 

Because the researchers observed individuals who were taking the anti-inflammatory drugs to treat autoimmune conditions, they need to proceed with caution.

“It’s too early to say whether these anti-cytokine drugs can be used in clinical practice for depression,” said Peter Jones, University of Cambridge psychiatry professor and co-author of the study.

 

“We will need clinical trials to test how effective they are in patients who do not have the chronic conditions for which the drugs have been developed,” Jones said. In addition, some of the drugs “can have potentially serious side effects, which would need to be addressed,” Jones added.

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