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Common Painkillers May Blunt Antidepressants
Date:4/25/2011

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, April 25 (HealthDay News) -- Common over-the-counter painkillers such as ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen may reduce the effectiveness of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, according to a mouse and human study from The Rockefeller University in New York City.

SSRIs -- which are the most common antidepressants and are used by millions of people -- include such popular drugs as Lexapro, Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft. The potential interaction between these drugs and the painkillers known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be a reason that some people don't respond to SSRIs, the researchers report.

"In one study, we found that anyone who reported use of an anti-inflammatory or analgesic agent had a much poorer treatment outcome compared to people who didn't report any use of NSAIDs," said study lead author Jennifer Warner-Schmidt.

One of the open questions is what dose is needed over what time period to produce this effect, said Warner-Schmidt, a research associate in the university's laboratory of molecular and cellular neuroscience. "Until a double-blind real clinical trial is done, we can't say what the dose is [or] what the time course is," she said.

"We may only be looking at people who are taking NSAIDs over a long period of time, but it's not clear," she explained.

In addition, why NSAIDs blunt the effect of SSRIs isn't known, Warner-Schmidt said, adding that "we have some speculative hypotheses we will be exploring in further studies."

Even with these caveats, Warner-Schmidt characterizes the effect of the interaction between these drugs as strong.

"If people out there are having trouble with SSRI efficacy and they happen to be taking anti-inflammatory drugs, they may want to speak with their clinician to evaluate whether they need to continue on the anti-inflammatory drugs, and if so,
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