"The belief has always been that they are difficult to treat because chronic pain wears people down and drives them into depression, but this is a different wrinkle. This would suggest it may be that medications being used to treat their chronic pain may, in fact, be obviating the effects of antidepressants," he said.
While it is too early to draw definitive clinical conclusions from this study, Nemeroff thinks doctors should ask their patients if they are taking NSAIDs when prescribing SSRIs.
"If you treat [patients] with an SSRI and they don't respond, maybe we ought to ask them if they are taking high doses of NSAIDs," Nemeroff said. "If they are, we might think about finding another way to treat their pain or inflammation," he said.
For more information on depression, visit the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health.
SOURCES: Jennifer Warner-Schmidt, Ph.D., research associate, The Rockefeller University, New York City; Charles Nemeroff, M.D., Ph.D., Leonard M. Miller Professor and chairman of the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine; April 25, 2011, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, online
All rights reserved