Epilepsy Talk

Depressing news about popular painkillers | July 19, 2021

If you thought you were depressed before, wait till you finish this paragraph.

Researchers say popular painkillers could block the effects of antidepressants like Celexa, Zoloft, Paxil, Prozac or Lexapro…

This means YOU or a loved one. Do you take Advil or Motrin or Aleve? Well, the researchers found that people taking these NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) were significantly less likely to get results from their SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) antidepressants.

And Tylenol is no picnic either. Research suggests the same thing for acetaminophen.

The key word here is “significantly.” It’s not like Advil turned Prozac totally off.  Plus, a lot more research is needed.

According to a recent report published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the effectiveness of SSRI antidepressants is reduced by 15% when taken alongside anti-inflammatory drugs.

Since inflammation is thought to worsen or cause depression in some people, researchers were justifiably surprised. Because, logically, they expected that combining an anti-inflammatory with an antidepressant would improve, not reduce, depressive symptoms. Makes sense, don’t you think?

But, researcher and co-author of the study Dr. Jennifer Warner-Schmidt said:

“It appears there’s a very strong antagonistic relationship between NSAIDs and SSRIs. This may be one reason why the response rate (in patients of SSRIs) is so low.”

What seems to be at work here, is a matter of imbalance. (You know, what works for some doesn’t work for all.)

SSRI antidepressants work by increasing the amount of the neurotransmitter serotonin in our brains.  And by balancing these natural chemicals, they affect our moods and emotions. But it appears that if this delicate balance is upset by a foreign agent — like an anti-inflammatory — all bets are off.  

Especially if someone is in chronic pain and uses an anti-inflammatory regularly for relief.

But the resolution remains in question. And more clinical trials will be needed to assess the strength and quality of the anti-inflammatory, together with the treatment and chemical imbalances being addressed by the antidepressant.

Meanwhile, Paul Greengard, the study’s senior author and Vincent Astor Professor of the Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience at Rockefeller University, advises, “physicians should consider the advantages and disadvantages of giving an anti-inflammatory with the antidepressant depending on how severe the pain is and how depressed they are.”

That isn’t to say: “Throw away your pain killers!” But it might make you (and me) think twice before popping some more ibuprofen…

At least, it’s certainly worth checking out with your doctor.

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  1. Reblogged this on Ken's Devotions.


    Comment by Kenneth — July 19, 2021 @ 11:32 AM

  2. Mercy!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Flower Roberts — July 19, 2021 @ 11:49 AM

  3. Look into and learn how to use homeopathic remedies for pain plus many other alternative herbal products in creams and infusions that are effective for pain without the undesirable side effects of the common pharmacological remedies.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Andrea Kay Whitcomb — July 19, 2021 @ 2:47 PM

  4. Andrea, you might find the following articles interesting:

    Epilepsy And Complementary Medicine… https://epilepsytalk.com/2020/06/11/epilepsy-and-complementary-medicine/

    Natural Herbal Remedies for Epilepsy https://epilepsytalk.com/2020/02/15/natural-herbal-remedies-for-epilepsy/


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — July 19, 2021 @ 2:54 PM

  5. Hi Phylis, The best way, i heard of relieving pain is to have some bigger pain somewhere else. 🙂 hehehe. You know how i feel about drugs, if u don’t need them don’t take the. I never wanted to be on drugs for the rest of my life, but having epilepsy well we must do what we can. Well since i take Seizure pills daily, i only take other drugs like pain killers if absolutely necessary and even then for a day or 2 .

    You know what is the best pain medicine, Stress medicine, depression medicine and a whole lot more? PETS. Yes, i got 3 baby ginger cats June 1st. and i love them to pieces. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Zolt — July 19, 2021 @ 3:08 PM

  6. And I’ve got a love bug for a kitten! She just turned two, last week.

    Did you get your three baby ginger cats all at once? Are they litter mates?


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — July 19, 2021 @ 3:16 PM

    • Yes, they are brothers, i couldn’t just take one, i knew they needed playmates other than me. 🙂 They run and jump and explore together. They like to play fight and have a good time while i’m not there. They are very entertaining to watch. Way better then TV.

      When they purr they make one feel intoxicatingly happy. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Zolt — July 19, 2021 @ 3:32 PM

  7. While chronic pain & pain medications may NOT have easy options available to avoid, I wonder if getting actively involved in social, religious, political or professional associations & intimate relationships could avert the root cause of depression & the repercussions of antidepressant drugs, which could lead to dependency of pharmaceutical products that could have fatal consequences?

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Gerrie — July 19, 2021 @ 5:10 PM

  8. I’m all for diversion. Writing is what gets me out of the dumps when I’m blue. (Yes, I know, I write a lot, but I’m not always blue. It’s just that writing is my life’s blood.)

    Here’s some interesting tidbits I came across a couple of years ago:

    Laughter as effective as cocaine? https://epilepsytalk.com/2012/01/27/laughter-as-effective-as-cocaine-2/

    Factoid: Human beings love to laugh, and the average adult laughs 17 times a day, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — July 19, 2021 @ 5:24 PM

    • Exactly my point, Phylis. 👍!
      While I’m not psychologist neither psychiatrist, I got a neighbor diagnosed with bipolar disorder whom I watched becoming pleasant, jovial, friendly, happy & full of life when he have people around him & start singing his favourite songs on his house porch for the neighbors to enjoy & tell their stories on how they have come to know the songs, singers, places & the good old times they had with their beloved friends & families.
      Now, imagine the same guy trying to commit suicide by overdosing himself with “AMBIEN”, the same powerful drug prescribed to cure for his depression?
      Which makes me wonder, why does drugs had to be the answer to the equation of psychological & psychiatric disorders, when active social engagement could have better benefits than the drugs?
      Adding pain killers to the antidepressant drugs, any wonder these doctors are questioning the effectiveness the antidepressant drugs to cure depression?
      Obviously, something is missing.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Gerrie — July 20, 2021 @ 7:57 AM

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    About the author

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    I've been a professional copywriter for over 35 years. I also had epilepsy for decades. My mission is advocacy; to increase education, awareness and funding for epilepsy research. Together, we can make a huge difference. If not changing the world, at least helping each other, with wisdom, compassion and sharing.

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