In the largest meta-analysis ever carried out, researchers from Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital, Psychiatry, have shown that medicine that inhibits inflammation, such as arthritis drugs, can also be effective in the treatment of depression.
The analysis is based on 36 international placebo-controlled studies with a total of 9,422 patients who either suffered from depression or had depressive symptoms. The results have been published in Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica.
In addition to looking into arthritis drugs, the researchers also examined the effect of other forms of medication that have an anti-inflammatory effect, including glucocorticoids and the antibiotic minocycline, adrenocortical hormone and statins, all of which showed antidepressant effects. The biggest challenge with depression, the researchers point out, is that we still do not know what triggers the disease in a particular individual.
According to Ole Köhler-Forsberg, one of the researchers, "Some studies suggest that the choice of antidepressant can be decided by a blood sample that measures whether there is an inflammatory condition in the body. Other studies show that the same blood sample can be used as a guideline for whether a depressive patient can be treated with anti-inflammatory medicine that has a better effect when there is inflammation present at the same time as the depression. However, we need to verify these findings and examine which patients can benefit from this before it can be implemented in everyday clinical practice," Köhler-Forsberg says.
In many of the studies conducted to date, the depressive symptoms were a secondary goal, meaning that large-scale and well-executed studies with depression as the primary objective are still needed.
Source: Medical Xpress, April 9, 2019