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Carol Eustice

NSAIDs May Lessen Depression in Arthritis Patients

By October 1, 2013

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Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and naproxen, are commonly prescribed to treat osteoarthritis. According to study results published online August 30, 2013 in the American Journal of Medicine, the anti-inflammatory drugs also seem to reduce depression. The study data included 5 previous trials involving 1500 osteoarthritis patients who had not taken anti-depressants. They were randomly assigned over-the-counter NSAIDs, prescription Celebrex, or placebo for 6 weeks.

According to the results, patients on each of the medications, as well as placebo, had fewer symptoms of depression at the end of the 6 weeks than at the beginning. It is hard to sort out how much depression is due to physical pain vs. how much is pure depression. In the study, the improvement in depression may be directly related to decreased osteoarthritis pain. Could part be attributable to a direct effect of NSAIDs on mood --  aside from the pain-relieving benefit? Researchers are trying to figure that out.

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Photo by Duane Ellison (iStockphoto)

October 2, 2013 at 9:03 pm
(1) Sooz5555 says:

There’s only one way to lessen depression, and that’s to get rid of the pain you are suffering.

October 3, 2013 at 12:53 pm
(2) lonecracker says:

I could have saved the research group any monies spent on this study. Sure, NSAIDS relieve depressions associated with arthritis. I have been using these meds for years and I can tell you that when I am pain free or even if the pain is reduced, I am not depressed. Reduced pain=reduced depression. Common sense!

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