Could Aspirin Fight Depression?

November 17, 2016

Bhatt et al 2016: Beneficial effect of aspirin against interferon a-2b induced depressive behavior in Sprague Dawley rats

Depressed man Smoking Research indicates that inflammation – a process in the body that helps to fight off infections – may contribute to depression. Anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin may be able to combat depression.

This is an intriguing prospect, especially since antidepressant medications and therapy sessions – commonly used methods of helping people with depression – are not always successful. Research studies about depression and anti-inflammatory drugs have produced conflicting results. However, a new study published in the journal Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology shows promise in tests with rats

In rats, depression is usually defined as a lack of interest in a rewarding stimuli such as sugar water, a quicker cessation of escape behaviors, and a low desire to explore new places. Researchers found that rats from a strain genetically predisposed to depression-like symptoms showed measurable improvement in these behaviors when they were treated with aspirin, either alone or with an antidepressant. They also had greater levels of serotonin in their brains, a chemical involved in mood regulation. This may indicate that their depression was being alleviated and that anti-inflammatory treatments such as aspirin could be a viable option for humans.

New therapeutic options for treating depression are always needed. An effective depression therapy using aspirin alone or with another drug would be welcomed by mental health patients and care providers.