In a review of 20 past studies, Cambridge researchers found that certain anti-inflammatory medications may have an antidepressant effect on some patients.
Past research has indicated high levels of proteins that signal inflammation in the body were associated with depression symptoms.
Anti-inflammatory medications were found to reduce the severity of depression symptoms — regardless of whether they treated the condition they were originally intended to treat.
"It's becoming increasingly clear to us that inflammation plays a role in depression, at least for some individuals, and now our review suggests that it may be possible to treat these individuals using some anti-inflammatory drugs," said lead study author Dr. Golam Khandaker in a press release.
These researchers noted that many patients are not responsive to antidepressant medications have inflammation. That said, anti-inflammatory medications may help those patients with depression, they said.
Anti-inflammatory medications are not approved as a treatment to treat depression by the US Food and Drug Administration. Talk to your doctor about the best treatment plan for you.
Further research is needed to determine if these specific anti-inflammatory medications are effective in those who do not have chronic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, these researchers noted.
This study was published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.
The Wellcome Trust, National Institute for Health Research and Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre funded this research. The authors disclosed no conflicts of interest.