The study in question was conducted on a group of ‘depressed’ mice, all of whom were put on antidepressants with 50 per cent of the group also being given painkillers at the same time.
The results of the study showed that Prozac and related drugs appeared to be less effective when a painkiller was also in the animals system. The journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reported that this effect seemed to be limited to only certain types of antidepressants because the efficacy of other types did not decrease when used alongside painkillers.
Though more studies need to be conducted on humans to cement findings, a study of medical records did reveal that similar effects seem to occur in people. According to the records, antidepressants were successful in just 40 per cent of those also taking painkillers, compared to 54 per cent of those who were not.
The experts who conducted the study have said that the impact of these findings could be particularly relevant in the elderly, due to depression raising their risk of Alzheimer’s disease and accelerating its development if not treated properly.
‘Many elderly individuals suffering from depression also have arthritic or related diseases and as a consequence are taking both anti-depressant and anti-inflammatory medications.’ Said Dr Paul Greengard.
He added, ‘Our results suggest that physicians should carefully balance the advantages and disadvantages of continuing anti-inflammatory therapy in patients being treated with anti-depressant medications.’
Researcher Professor Irving Kirsch has stressed that patients should not change their medication without consulting their health care provider.
Individuals who are suffering from depression often find counselling an extremely helpful tool. Counselling can either be used alone, or alongside conventional medical treatment and is an opportunity to discuss thoughts and feelings in a safe, confidential and neutral environment. To find out more about how counselling could help you, please visit our counselling for depression factsheet.