Ibuprofen, aspirin and paracetamol stop Prozac working
Written By: Abbie Smith
Prozac is one of the most popularly prescribed anti-depressant treatments but new research has found that aspirin, paracetamol and ibuprofen may reduce its effect.
There have been complaints that anti-depressants, also dubbed as ‘happy pills’, do nothing to boost patients moods or lift them out of a depression.
Scientists believe they have now discovered why many people have complained that the serotonin uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are ineffective, after a study found that their effects are reduced when they are taken alongside ibuprofen, aspirin or paracetamol.
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Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are a widely used class of pain medication.
One of the lead researchers of the project, Jennifer Warner-Schmidt, said: “It appears there's a very strong antagonistic relationship between NSAIDs and SSRIs.”
She added that this might be why the response rate in patients taking SSRIs is so low.
The researchers said the findings need to be confirmed in further studies, and it wasn’t clear if the effect of SSRIs was diminished from someone taking ibuprofen for an occasional headache, or if it was affected through the long-term use of pain medication for conditions like arthritis.
Prozac is prescribed to two million people a year in Britain, while 253 million people in the US were prescribed anti-depressants in 2010.
The National Institute of National Health also states that 16.5 per cent of adults in the US will suffer from major depression during their lifetime.
The team of researchers from the Rockefeller Univeristy in New York studied the effects of the two medications in mice.
A group of ‘depressed’ mice were given anti-depressants and half of them were also given painkillers.
The scientists tracked the changes in their behaviour and noted that Prozac and other related drugs were less effective in the mice that also had painkillers in their system.
The researchers said: “The mechanism underlying these effects is not yet clear. Nevertheless, our results may have profound implications for patients.”
A study of medical records also found that there were similar effects in people who were taking both SSRIs and NSAIDs, with SSRIs successful in 40 per cent of people who were also taking NSAIDs, as opposed to a 54 per cent success rates in people who were taking SSRIs on their own.
The researchers believe this effect could be particularly severe in the elderly, as depression often leads to Alzheimer’s.
“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.
In previous studies, results showed that anti-depressants were not much more effective than dummy pills, and only in extreme cases of depression did Prozac, Seroxat and Efexor improved mental health.