Anti-inflammatory agents can safely and effectively curb the symptoms of major depression, finds a pooled analysis of available evidence, published online in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.
The meta-analysis found that the pooled evidence from 26 randomised controlled trials suggested anti-inflammatory agents reduced depressive symptoms by almost half (standard mean difference [SMD] -0.55; 95% CI -0.75 to -0.35, I2=71%) compared with placebo. Higher response and remission rates were seen in participants receiving anti-inflammatory agents compared to those receiving placebo (risk ratio [RR] 1.52; 95% CI 1.30-1.79; I2=29%, and RR 1.79; 95% CI 1.29-2.49; I2=41%, respectively).
Subgroup analysis showed a greater reduction in symptom severity in the adjunctive treatment group (SMD -0.70; 95% CI -0.97 to -0.43; P<.00001>
Additional subgroup analysis of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, omega-3 fatty acids, statins and minocyclines demonstrated significant antidepressant effects for major depressive disorder (MDD).
Changes in quality of life (QoL) showed no difference between the groups.
Gastrointestinal events were the only significant differences in adverse effects between groups in the treatment periods.
The authors concluded that anti-inflammatory agents show promising effects for MDD. However, they said owing to the chronic course of MDD, quality of life and adverse effects should be further investigated.