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Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2019 Jan;139(1):68-77. doi: 10.1111/acps.12957. Epub 2018 Sep 4.

New drug candidates for depression - a nationwide population-based study.

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Copenhagen Affective Disorder reaserch Center (CADIC), Psychiatric Center Copenhagen, Rigshospitalet, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Department of Biostatistics, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.
School of Medicine, Deakin University, Geelong, Vic, Australia.
Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, the Department of Psychiatry, and the Florey Institute for Neuroscience and Mental Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Vic, Australia.



To investigate whether continued use of non-aspirin NSAID, low-dose aspirin, high-dose aspirin, statins, allopurinol and angiotensin agents decreases the rate of incident depression using Danish nationwide population-based registers.


All persons in Denmark who purchased the exposure medications of interest between 1995 and 2015 and a random sample of 30% of the Danish population was included in the study. Two different outcome measures were included, (i) a diagnosis of depressive disorder at a psychiatric hospital as in-patient or out-patient and (ii) a combined measure of a diagnosis of depression or use of antidepressants.


A total of 1 576 253 subjects were exposed to one of the six drugs of interest during the exposure period from 2005 to 2015. Continued use of low-dose aspirin, statins, allopurinol and angiotensin agents was associated with a decreased rate of incident depression according to both outcome measures. Continued uses of non-aspirin NSAIDs as well as high-dose aspirin were associated with an increased rate of incident depression.


The findings support the potential of agents acting on inflammation and the stress response system in depression as well as the potential of population-based registers to systematically identify drugs with repurposing potential.


NSAID; allopurinol; angiotensin; antidepressants; aspirin; depressive disorder; drug repurposing; inflammation; statins; stress


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