It seems that painkillers such as aspirin and ibuprofen, and anti-depressants such as Prozac and Celexa, are not a good combination, according to a study published on Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
A feature on The Wall Street Journal shared that researchers were able to determine that painkillers, specifically the class of pain medication that are classified as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), seem to decrease the effectiveness of a class of anti-depressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI).
First study author Jennifer Warner-Schmidt, a researcher at Rockefeller University in New York, said: “It appears there’s a very strong antagonistic relationship between NSAIDs and SSRIs… This may be one reason why the response rate [in patients of SSRIs] is so low.”
The results of the study, however, need confirmation through further studies. In addition, it was unclear if taking ibuprofen occasionally for headaches can affect the effectiveness of an anti-depressant, or if a patient needs to take NSAIDs long term for such conditions as arthritis for an inhibitory effect to kick in.
The researchers initially looked into the effect of combining NSAIDs and SSRIs in mice, before looking into the effect of the combination in humans. They examined data from a large clinical trial participated in by 4,000 patients, known as STAR*D, and determined that there was a significant difference in the effectiveness of SSRIs when taken with NSAIDs.
Steve Wengel, a depression researcher and chair of the University of Nebraska Medical Center psychiatry department, commented: “If it’s substantiated in further studies, it would certainly imply we would have to use a different treatment for patients who are chronically taking NSAIDs.” Dr. Wengel is not involved in the study.