Prozac may help to curb disease activity in multiple sclerosis

May 1, 2008

The antidepressant Prozac may help to curb disease activity in the relapsing remitting form of multiple sclerosis (MS), reveals preliminary research published ahead of print in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry.

The research team randomly allocated 40 patients with the relapsing remitting form of MS to treatment with either 20 mg daily of fluoxetine (Prozac) or an inactive substance (placebo) for a period of 24 weeks.

Detailed brain scans (magnetic resonance images or MRI) every four weeks were used to check for new areas of neurological inflammation, a hallmark of active disease.

In total, 38 patients—19 in each group—completed the study. The scans showed that those in the placebo group had more new areas of inflammation than those treated with Prozac.

The effects began to become evident after eight weeks, which corresponds to the time the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class of drugs, of which Prozac is one, start to work on relieving depression.

The average number of new areas affected was more than five in the group given the placebo compared with just under two in the group given Prozac.

One in four scans from patients treated with Prozac showed new areas of inflammation compared with four out of 10 of those taking placebo.

During the last 16 weeks of treatment, almost two thirds of patients (63%) in the group given Prozac had no new areas of inflammation compared with only one in four (26%) in the group given placebo.

The authors caution that their study was small, and larger studies would be needed before firm conclusions could be drawn.

But they conclude that their results are “sufficiently encouraging to justify further studies with fluoxetine in patients with MS,” adding that higher doses and treatment combinations with other drugs that alter the immune response, should be considered.

Source: British Medical Journal

Explore further: New depression treatments reported

Related Stories

New depression treatments reported

February 14, 2014
New insights into the physiological causes of depression are leading to treatments beyond common antidepressants such as Prozac and Zoloft, researchers are reporting in the in the journal Current Psychiatry.

Diabetes and depression: The impact of this widespread disease on the brain is often overlooked

September 10, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—The complications of uncontrolled diabetes are well recognized: nerve damage, kidney disease, blindness, and circulation problems that affect the extremities. The disease's impact on the brain, however, ...

New research shows mental illness common, linked to heart disease

September 12, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- Mental illnesses -- led by anxiety disorders and depression -- now affect one-quarter of the US population according to new research. In Europe a similar proportion -- about 27 percent -- suffers from ...

Antidepressant medication protects against compounds linked to dementia

December 1, 2015
In addition to treating depression, a commonly used antidepressant medication also protects against compounds that can cause memory loss and dementia, a Loyola University Medical Center study has found.

Saffron packs a punch for mental illness

December 3, 2014
The popular spice saffron has shown to be a safer alternative to pharmaceutical antidepressants in some instances by producing less severe side effects than medications, according to Murdoch University scientists.

Proteins linked to longevity may be involved in mood control

December 9, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- Over the past decade, MIT biologist Leonard Guarente and others have shown that very-low-calorie diets provoke a comprehensive physiological response that promotes survival, all orchestrated by a set of ...

Recommended for you

Researchers devise decoy molecule to block pain where it starts

January 16, 2018
For anyone who has accidentally injured themselves, Dr. Zachary Campbell not only sympathizes, he's developing new ways to blunt pain.

Scientists unleash power of genetic data to identify disease risk

January 16, 2018
Massive banks of genetic information are being harnessed to shed new light on modifiable health risks that underlie common diseases.

Blood-vessel-on-a-chip provides insight into new anti-inflammatory drug candidate

January 15, 2018
One of the most important and fraught processes in the human body is inflammation. Inflammatory responses to injury or disease are crucial for recruiting the immune system to help the body heal, but inflammation can also ...

Molecule produced by fat cells reduces obesity and diabetes in mice

January 15, 2018
UC San Francisco researchers have discovered a new biological pathway in fat cells that could explain why some people with obesity are at high risk for metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes. The new findings—demonstrated ...

Obese fat becomes inflamed and scarred, which may make weight loss harder

January 12, 2018
The fat of obese people becomes distressed, scarred and inflamed, which can make weight loss more difficult, research at the University of Exeter has found.

Optimized human peptide found to be an effective antibacterial agent

January 11, 2018
A team of researchers in the Netherlands has developed an effective antibacterial ointment based on an optimized human peptide. In their paper published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the group describes developing ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.