Inflammatory biomarker points to a new approach on antidepressants

A well-known biomarker for inflammatory diseases may also be linked to depression, offering investigators an intriguing new opening in the frustrating battle to develop novel antidepressants.

In a new study published in JAMA Psychiatry, Danish investigators determined that elevated levels of C-reactive protein--a biomarker used for inflammatory bowel disorders and other inflammatory ailments--was commonly found in depressed patients enrolled in two broad population studies. The finding raises the possibility that adding anti-inflammatory drugs to a regimen for depression could improve the odds of success.

"More research is needed to establish the direction of the association between CRP and depression because this study and others are primarily cross-sectional," the study authors said in a statement, according to a report from UPI. "The results also support the initiation of intervention studies to examine whether adding anti-inflammatory drugs to antidepressants for treatment of depression will improve outcome."

Finding new drugs for depression has been a notoriously difficult task, with low odds of success. Some Big Pharma outfits, such as GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK), dropped out entirely, citing problems with big placebo responses, which can scuttle the most promising therapies. Any opportunity to find a better path to an approval will likely attract considerable scrutiny among the remaining players.

- here's the abstract
- here's the UPI report

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