Anti-Inflammatory Meds Could Help Treat Depression

HealthDay News — Anti-inflammatory agents may decrease depression and depressive symptoms, according to study findings in JAMA Psychiatry.

Ole Köhler, MD, of Aarhus University Hospital in Risskov, Denmark, and colleagues conducted a systematic review of the literature and performed a meta-analysis of data from 14 randomized clinical trials. The authors sought to assess the antidepressant effects of anti-inflammatory agents and possible adverse effects associated with such interventions.

Ten trials evaluated the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs), and four trials evaluated the use of cytokine inhibitors.

The pooled effect estimate suggested that, compared with placebo, anti-inflammatory agents decreased depressive symptoms in studies of patients with depression or depressive symptoms, the researchers found. Differences in the inclusion of clinical depression versus depressive symptoms, or the use of NSAIDs versus cytokine inhibitors, did not explain the heterogeneity of the studies.

In six studies, use of anti-inflammatory treatment, compared with placebo, did not appear to increase the number of gastrointestinal or cardiovascular adverse effects after six weeks, or the number of infections after 12 weeks.

“This study supports a proof-of-concept concerning the use of anti-inflammatory treatment in depression,” the authors write. “Identification of subgroups that could benefit from such treatment might be warranted.”

Pfizer conducted five of the studies included in the meta-analysis.


  1. Köhler O. JAMA Psychiatry. 2014;71(12):1381-1391.