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Anti-inflammatory drugs 'could help in treating depression'

Painkillers, statins and fish oil may help to cure or reduce depression, say researchers. Picture: File

Painkillers, statins and fish oil may help to cure or reduce depression, say researchers. Picture: File

Published Oct 29, 2019

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London - Painkillers, statins and fish oil may help to cure or reduce depression, say researchers.

Depression is defined as a mental health disorder characterised by persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities, causing significant impairment in daily life.

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Painkillers, statins and fish can reduce inflammation and a scientific review has found that such drugs, many of which are available over the counter, are almost 80% more effective at eliminating depression than dummy pills.

Experts believe inflammation – the body’s reaction to problems such as stress and poor diet – may trigger depression.

However, the review’s conclusion is based on an assessment of just four studies looking at a painkiller used for arthritis and three looking at statins.

It looked at 26 studies in total involving more than 1 600 people, who were mainly taking omega 3 supplements such as fish oil pills but also other anti-inflammatory treatments such as steroids and antibiotics.

Authors of the review, led by Huazhong University in China, wrote: "The results … suggest anti-inflammatory agents play an antidepressant role."

Professor Ed Bullmore, head of the department of psychiatry at the University of Cambridge, who was not involved in the research, said: "This should encourage further consideration of ways in which we could use a range of anti-inflammatory interventions to help people with depression."

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The review, in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, did not consider ibuprofen or aspirin. It suggests anti-inflammatory drugs might help patients when used in combination with anti-depressants.

Daily Mail

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