Mouse Study: NSAIDs May Interfere With SSRI Activity
Antiinflammatory drugs, specifically aspirin and NSAIDs, may interfere with the antidepressant effect of SSRIs, according to a mouse study published online today in PNAS (subscription required). The speculative reason: These COX-2 inhibitors reduce the production of inflammatory cytokines, like TNF alpha and interferon gamma, which may otherwise figure importantly in the antidepressant effect of SSRIs.
In NSAID-treated mice, investigators at New York’s Rockefeller University and Inter-Cellular Therapies found depressed brain* levels of TNF alpha and interferon gamma, which are otherwise increased with SSRI therapy. A human correlate is suggested by a post-hoc analysis of a subpopulation from the first round of the landmark STAR*D Study. Overall the SSRI citalopram (Celexa) was effective for about 55% of enrollees; among those taking NSAIDs, the efficacy rate was about 45%.
As expected, quoted scientific pundits say that more study, with confirmation of the results, is needed
COX = cyclooxygenase; NSAID = nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug; PNAS = Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America; SSRI = selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitor; STAR*D = Sequenced Treatment Alternative to Relieve Depression; TNF = tumor necrosis factor.
* Specifically in the murine frontal cortex.
Photo of generic ibuprofen tablets from Wikipedia.