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Open AccessArticle

Clinical Role of Aspirin in Mood Disorders: A Systematic Review

MOH Holdings Pte Ltd., 1 Maritime Square, Singapore 099253, Singapore
Institute of Mental Health, Buangkok Green Medical Park, 10 Buangkok View, Singapore 539747, Singapore
Fitzwilliam College, University of Cambridge, Storey’s Way, Cambridge CB3 0DG, UK
National University Hospital, National University Health System, Singapore 119074, Singapore
Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117597, Singapore
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(11), 296;
Received: 29 September 2019 / Revised: 25 October 2019 / Accepted: 27 October 2019 / Published: 29 October 2019
Worldwide, depression and bipolar disorder affect a large and growing number of people. However, current pharmacotherapy options remain limited. Despite adequate treatment, many patients continue to have subsyndromal symptoms, which predict relapse in bipolar illness and often result in functional impairments. Aspirin, a common nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), has purported beneficial effects on mood symptoms, showing protective effects against depression in early cohort studies. This systematic review thus aimed to investigate the role of aspirin in mood disorders. Using the keywords (aspirin or acetylsalicy* or asa) and (mood or depress* or bipolar or mania or suicid*), a comprehensive search of PubMed, EMBASE, Medline, PsycINFO, Clinical Trials Register of the Cochrane Collaboration Depression, Anxiety and Neurosis Group (CCDANTR), and Google Scholar databases found 13,952 papers published in English between 1 January 1988 and 1 May 2019. A total of six clinical studies were reviewed. There were two randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trials and populations drawn from two main cohort studies (i.e., the Geelong Osteoporosis Study and the Osteoarthritis Initiative study). Using a random-effects model, the pooled hazard ratio of the three cohort studies was 0.624 (95% confidence interval: 0.0503 to 1.198, p = 0.033), supporting a reduced risk of depression with aspirin exposure. Overall, the dropout rates were low, and aspirin appears to be well-tolerated with minimal risk of affective switch. In terms of methodological quality, most studies had a generally low risk of bias. Low-dose aspirin (80 to 100 mg/day) is safe, well-tolerated and potentially efficacious for improving depressive symptoms in both unipolar and bipolar depression. Due to its ability to modulate neuroinflammation and central nervous system processes, aspirin may also have valuable neuroprotective and pro-cognitive effects that deserve further exploration. Further randomized, controlled trials involving the adjunctive use of aspirin should be encouraged to confirm its therapeutic benefits. View Full-Text
Keywords: aspirin; anti-inflammatory; psychiatry; mood disorder; depression; bipolar; systematic review aspirin; anti-inflammatory; psychiatry; mood disorder; depression; bipolar; systematic review
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MDPI and ACS Style

Ng, Q.X.; Ramamoorthy, K.; Loke, W.; Lee, M.W.L.; Yeo, W.S.; Lim, D.Y.; Sivalingam, V. Clinical Role of Aspirin in Mood Disorders: A Systematic Review. Brain Sci. 2019, 9, 296.

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