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J Affect Disord. 2012 Dec 10;141(2-3):308-14. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2012.03.033. Epub 2012 Apr 18.

Effect of celecoxib add-on treatment on symptoms and serum IL-6 concentrations in patients with major depressive disorder: randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study.

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Family Health Research Center, Iranian Petroleum Industry Health Research Institute, NIOC Central Hospital, Tehran, Iran.



It has been proposed that the mechanism of the antidepressant effect of celecoxib is linked to its anti-inflammatory action and particularly its inhibitory effect on pro-inflammatory cytokines (e.g. interleukin-6(IL-6)). We measured changes in serum IL-6 concentrations and depressive symptoms following administration of celecoxib in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD).


In a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study, 40 patients with MDD and Hamilton Depression Rating Scale-17 items (Ham-D) score ≥18 were randomly assigned to either celecoxib (200mg twice daily) or placebo in addition to sertraline (200mg/day) for 6 weeks. Outcome measures were serum IL-6 concentrations at baseline and week 6, and Ham-D scores at baseline and weeks 1, 2, 4, and 6.


The celecoxib group showed significantly greater reduction in serum IL-6 concentrations (mean difference (95%CI)=0.42(0.30 to 0.55) pg/ml, t(35)=6.727, P<0.001) as well as Ham-D scores (mean difference (95%CI)=3.35(1.08 to 5.61), t(38)=2.99, P=0.005) than the placebo group. The patients in the celecoxib group experienced more response (95%) and remission (35%) than the placebo group (50% and 5%, P=0.003 and 0.04 respectively). Baseline serum IL-6 levels were significantly correlated with baseline Ham-D scores (r=0.378, P=0.016). Significant correlation was observed between reduction of Ham-D scores and reduction of serum IL-6 levels at week 6 (r=0.673, P<0.001).


We did not measure other inflammatory biomarkers.


We showed that the antidepressant activity of celecoxib might be linked to its capability of reducing IL-6 concentrations. Moreover, supporting previous studies we showed that celecoxib is both safe and effective as an adjunctive antidepressant (Registration number: IRCT138903124090N1).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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