Could anti-inflammatory drugs be used to treat depression in the future?

Scientists at Cambridge University revealed a few years ago the results of a study showing simple anti-inflammatory drugs could one day be used to treat depression. They predict their discovery could lead to a breakthrough in the future treatment of the condition for those who don’t respond to antidepressants.

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The researchers found the drugs improved the symptoms of depression for some participants, regardless of their effect on other conditions. Paid Medical Trials such as those undertaken by companies such as www.trials4us.co.uk often provide data and reports that allow for new medicines to be used for a number of conditions as well as existing medications being identified as having used for other illness than the ones that they are already licensed for.

Not your everyday anti-inflammatories

To be clear, the clinical trials that researchers looked at for this study did not use everyday anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen. Instead, they were working with a new class of drugs for the treatment of inflammation in conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis, known as anti-cytokine drugs.

The team from the Department of Psychiatry at Cambridge worked with researchers from University College London and the University of Texas to establish their results. They grouped their studies together, before analyzing the data to find any links between changes to the physical and mental health of participants.

They say their findings did provide a link and that they are increasingly convinced that inflammation does cause depression for some people.

Is this a new treatment for depression?

The team behind the findings is keen to point out that this could be a way forward for the treatment of depression, but that more clinical trials are needed. Whilst they are convinced that there is a link between inflammation and changes to mental health for some patients, it’s not enough to establish exactly who would benefit from the drugs used in their study. Their findings do show that about a third of patients with depression also have some sort of inflammation, which provides more evidence to support the prospect of using anti-inflammatories in some cases.

Further studies, could be vital to providing an improved way of life for people suffering from depression and ways in which these individuals and their loved ones can be supported.

The NHS says the results of the study offer useful paths for future work. They also call the discovery interesting but are clear that it doesn’t provide enough evidence to allow doctors to start using anti-cytokine drugs as a treatment for depression.

However, it is hoped that with further research, the breakthrough could lead to a new option for patients who do not respond to traditional antidepressants.

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