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Aspirin and Ibuprofen Nullify Effects of Popular Anti Depressants

posted 11:07 PM EST, Mon April 25, 2011
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Although in 2010 Americans filled 254 million prescriptions for SSRI anti depressants (like Zoloft, Prozac and others) a significant percentage of people taking these medications experienced little benefit. Researchers out of Rockefeller University think they know why – saying that common over the counter pain medications, like aspirin or ibuprofen, may nullify the effects of SSRIs.

In a groundbreaking study, researchers at The Rockefeller University in New York may have discovered why so many people with depression get no relief from popular anti depressants from the SSRI family (Prozak, Zoloft etc.).

The reason why? – Common pain medications like aspirin and ibuprofen greatly reduce the effectiveness of SSRI medications.

In their study the researchers found that while SSRIs provide relief for depression for about 54% of people who do not use aspirin or ibuprofen, that efficacy percentage falls to 40% for those who also use these common over the counter pain medications.

Why Does Advil, Motrin or Aspirin Affect the Workings of SSRI Anti Depressants?

There is a protein in the brain called P11 and this protein primes brain cells to achieve a greater positive mood response from the neurotransmitter serotonin.

  • Anti depressants from the SSRI family increase the activity of P11
  • Non steroidal anti inflammatory (NSAID) drugs, like ibuprofen and aspirin suppress the activity of P11

Looking at P11 in animal model lab experiments, the researchers found that when an NSAID and an SSRI were administered concurrently, the NSAID nullified the impact of the anti depressant.

Researcher Paul Greengard (a past Nobel Prize winner) says that the results of the study help to explain why the elderly, who often take pain medications for conditions like arthritis, also respond so poorly to anti depressants. With some 21 million Americans suffering from depression he foresees a potential enormous increase in drug effectiveness as people with depression simply switch to alternate analgesics, commenting, “lot of people are popping ibuprofen for very minor reasons. We hope this will lead to an increased number of people being able to be treated successfully with SSRIs.".”

The full research results were published Tuesday in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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  • SSRIs: Taking an OTC painkiller with your anti depressant reduces its effectiveness.
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