Depression: Fish Oils And Painkillers May Curb Symptoms, According To New Review

Common painkillers, statins and fish oils may help curb depression, especially if taken with antidepressants, according to a new expert-led review.

A new review has found that anti-inflammatory agents could curb major symptoms of depression such as low mood.

Experts from the University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China, reviewed 26 existing studies for their research in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry.

According to the Press Association, the anti-inflammatories included in the studies were non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as:

  • Ibuprofen
  • Aspirin
  • Omega 3 fatty acids often found in fish oils
  • Cytokine inhibitors
  • Statins: Lipid-lowering medications that reduce illness and mortality in those who are at high risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Steroids
  • Antibiotics
  • Modafinil: A drug used to treat sleep disorders
  • and N-acetyl cysteine, which is used to loosen excess phlegm in people with cystic fibrosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD).

The results suggested that, overall, these medicines and agents were 52 per cent more effective than a placebo at reducing overall symptoms of depression and were 79 per cent more effective in eliminating symptoms than placebo.

The most effective drugs were found to be NSAIDs, omega 3 fatty acids, statins and minocyclines, and the effect was greater if these were added to antidepressants.

However, there was no clear link with improved quality of life, although this may have been due to the small number of studies that examined this, the researchers said.

They concluded: "The results of this systematic review suggest that anti-inflammatory agents play an antidepressant role in patients with major depressive disorder and are reasonably safe."

Main image by @luciacuesta_

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