Antidepressant therapy and C-reactive protein levels

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Abstract

Background

Major depression is associated with activation of the inflammatory response.

Aims

To examine C-reactive protein levels in depression and to determine the impact of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) therapy.

Method

Atwo-part study. In study 1, which used a between-subjects design, C-reactive protein was measured in 32 patients (20 currently depressed, 12 euthymic) with a history of DSM–IV major depression, all of whom were treated with an SSRI, and in a healthy comparison group (n=20). Study 2 employed a within-subject design: C-reactive protein was measured in 20 patients with major depression both before and after SSRI treatment.

Results

In study 1, C-reactive protein levels did not differ between the group with depressive disorder (either currently depressed or euthymic) treated with SSRIs and the healthy group. In study 2 the protein levels dropped significantly following treatment with antidepressant medication.

Conclusions

Following SSRI treatment for major depression there is a significant drop in C-reactive protein concentrations whether or not the depression resolves. These findings indicate that antidepress-ants induce an anti-inflammatory response independent of antidepressant action.

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