Recent Blog Articles

Caution: Popular painkillers may interfere with antidepressants, from the Harvard Mental Health Letter

August 02, 2011

Popular pain relievers may reduce the benefits of commonly prescribed antidepressants, reports the August 2011 issue of the Harvard Mental Health Letter. New research suggests that both acetaminophen (Tylenol) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Motrin) may make selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, less effective.

Researchers analyzed the results of the Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression (STAR*D) study, a large “real-world” examination of depression treatment. Only 45% of STAR*D participants who took an SSRI along with a pain medication achieved complete relief of depression symptoms, while 55% of people who were taking an SSRI alone (without a pain medication) did so.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.

Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.

  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »

I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.

Sign Me Up

Already a member? Login ».


As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.