Aspirin Could Counteract Anti-Depressants Like Prozac

A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that anti-inflammatory painkillers like aspirin could reduce the efficacy of widely used anti-depressants.  The researchers examined drugs within a particular family, known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs.  These include the commonly prescribed Prozac, Paxil, Lexapro and Zoloft.  They found that these drugs seem to work less well with pain-relief medications like aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen.

The researchers found that 54 percent of study participants not using painkillers responded to the anti-depressants, while only 40 percent of participants who were simultaneously taking an anti-inflammatory pain relief drug responded.  The researchers say that these findings may have a particularly strong impact on patients who suffer from both depression and chronic pain.

“The mechanism underlying these effects is not yet clear. Nevertheless, our results may have profound implications for patients, given the very high treatment resistance rates for depressed individuals taking SSRIs,” said one of the co-authors, Jennifer Warner-Schmidt.

Another co-author, Paul Greengard, added, “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.”

These findings also seem to have relevance for any person who takes anti-depressants; it’s unclear how often one needs to take aspirin or another anti-inflammatory drug for an anti-depressant to be rendered less effective, but it’s certainly something for doctors to make their patients aware of. 

Learn more here and here.


Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

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Dorothy K.
Dorothy K.4 years ago

interesting information, may explain why my anti depressent doesn't seem effective at times. Take only a low dose asprin daily but not at the same time as other meds. Will try differnt approaches to see what does or doesn't work.

Parvez Z.
Parvez Zuberi4 years ago

Thanks for the info an interesting article

Layla H.
Layla H.4 years ago

This study doesn't hold a lot of weight. The actual pathways used in the study were for mice. Also, what everyone should understand is correlation does not imply causation.

James Morley
James Morley4 years ago

Wow, Greg, I never realised being unpleasant was part of depression.
My comment to you is 'cool it, and it might help your mood' No I do not, nor ever have suffered from depression, but I have friends that do. or have. I some cases it has changed their lives, and not for the better. None of them are however nasty, so try a little harder. What Jane said also echos my thoughts, don't know but frrom what I have read, anti depression medicine seems unreliable.
Now you can be rude to me, as befits you!

Tom Sullivan
Tom C Sullivan4 years ago


Greg B.
Greg B.4 years ago

Very informative for sufferers of Depression and Depression Related Illness'. There would be nothing worse than to be slipping back into the blackness and not knowing that simply taking Asprin for whatever reason was causing your meds to fail.
Great work by the researchers who unearthed this, you have just made many peoples lives just that little bit more tolerable.
I read a comment from "Jane"...... sweetheart if you had the choice and you were suffering from the "black dog" you would take anything to get that fucker off your back. Depression destroys people Jane, it destroys families, lives, jobs ........... I found your silly comment to be just so very selfish and so terribly ignorant. I hate cliche's but I really hope you don't have to walk a mile in a depression sufferers shoes to feel how it pains your whole body, your wish to be free of it and with your loving children is denied of you, by depression. I know Jane because I am a 50 year old man who suffers depression and has done so for the past 10 years. I fight it like hell and when i hear the ignorant comments, the silly comments, I pray to God that he will protect those people from the darkness that I fend off every day. Me and many many others....... I can't but think you owe those people an apology for your distasteful comment.

Marlene Barrett
Marlene Barrett4 years ago

This explains it! My husband has chronic
pain and takes an anti-depressant. Many days I feel his anti- depressant isn't working, and now I know why! Thank you for the info!

Danielle Herie
Danielle Herie4 years ago


Jon Hoy
Jonjon Hoy4 years ago

Thanks for the article. I take 81mgs of asprin just to be on the safe side of things even though I have a health heart. Anti-depressant the whole world and then maybe we could have world peace. :-)

janet w.
janet w.4 years ago

I think the whole world would be better if everyone took some type of anti anything!!! And an 81 mg aspirin.Don.t want a nasty blood clot to screw up living.Just a thought.