Background: Different studies have been conducted to find the best adjuvant therapies for depression management. There are controversies over the effects of aspirin as an adjuvant therapy for depression.

Objective: To determine the effects of combined sertraline and aspirin therapy on depression severity among patients with major depressive disorder.

Methods: This randomized clinical trial was conducted at Kargarnejad Psychiatric Hospital in Kashan, Isfahan, Iran, from September 1, 2016 to November 1, 2016. The study participants included 100 patients with major depressive disorder who were assigned to aspirin and placebo groups by the use of computer-generated random numbers. Patients in these groups respectively received sertraline-aspirin and sertraline-placebo for eight consecutive weeks. Patients were prescribed 80 milligrams of aspirin twice a day. Also, sertraline was administered at a dose of 50-200 milligrams daily. Beck Depression Inventory was employed for depression severity assessment at four time points, namely before, two, four, and eight weeks after the beginning of the intervention. Medication side effects were also assessed eight weeks after the beginning of the intervention. Data were analyzed by SPSS version 12.0, using Chi-square and the Independent-samples t-test (α=0.05).

Results: Both groups were matched in terms of age (p=0.46), gender (p=0.539), and depression severity (p=0.509, with mean score 33.5±4.1 vs. 32.8±5.9) at baseline. However, depression scores were reduced significantly four and eight weeks after initiation of therapy just in the sertraline-aspirin group (p<0.05).

Conclusion: As an adjuvant therapy, aspirin can reduce depression severity among patients with major depressive disorder. Yet, further studies are needed to prove the effectiveness of aspirin and other anti-inflammatory agents in reducing depression severity.

Trial registration: The trial was registered at the Iranian Registry of Clinical Trials (http://www.irct.ir) with the IRCT ID: IRCT2016082829556N1. 

Funding: The authors received financial support from Research Deputy of Kashan University of Medical Sciences, Kashan, Isfahan, Iran


Keywords: Sertraline, Depression, Aspirin
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