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Keywords:

  • anti-inflammatory;
  • cyclooxygenase-1;
  • cyclooxygenase-2;
  • non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs;
  • celecoxib;
  • salicylate;
  • tumor necrosis factor;
  • infliximab;
  • minocycline;
  • depression;
  • schizophrenia;
  • bipolar disorders

Objective

To provide a systematic review of the literature regarding the efficacy of anti-inflammatory drugs in three major mental disorders [major depressive disorder (MDD), schizophrenia and bipolar disorders].

Method

Four databases were explored, without any year or language restrictions. The baseline search paradigm was limited to open-labelled clinical and randomized controlled trials (RCTs).

Results

Four major classes of anti-inflammatory drugs were identified, namely polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), cyclooxygenase (COX) inhibitors, anti-TNFalpha and minocycline. Effectiveness and benefit/risk ratio of each class in MDD, bipolar disorders and schizophrenia was detailed when data were available. Several meta-analyses indicated effectiveness of PUFAs in MDD with a good tolerance profile. One meta-analysis indicated that COX-2 specific inhibitors showed effectiveness in schizophrenia. Anti-TNFalpha showed important effectiveness in resistant MDD with blood inflammatory abnormalities. Minocycline showed effectiveness in schizophrenia.

Conclusion

Polyunsaturated fatty acids seem to have the best benefit/risk ratio profile but proved their effectiveness only in MDD. A number of anti-inflammatory drugs are available as adjunct treatment for treatment-resistant patients with MDD, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. If used with caution regarding their possible side-effects, they may be reasonable therapeutic alternatives for resistant symptomatology.