Background: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) and depression are extremely prevalent and debilitating conditions.
Evidence suggest that there is a two-way relationship between depression and CVD. Inflammation is implicated
in the pathophysiology of both conditions, thus representing a central candidate mediating the link between
these disorders. Depression is consistently associated with increased inflammation and increased blood levels of
inflammatory molecules. In recent years, studies have shown that depression significantly increases the risk of developing
inflammatory-related diseases such as CVD, precipitated by the same inflammatory pathways involved in the
pathophysiology of CVD.
Objective and Method: The aim of this work is to discuss the role of inflammation in depression and CVD and review
the evidence of the benefits and side effects of anti-inflammatory drugs in both the diseases.
Results: Drugs with anti-inflammatory properties have shown benefit in alleviating signs and symptoms in CVD and
in depression. This was shown to be particularly true for the following classes of drugs: non-steroidal antiinflammatory
drugs (NSAIDS), polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) statins and cytokine inhibitors. Finally, antidepressant
drugs initially used exclusively to treat depression also lead to improvement in CVD indicators, while lowering
inflammation markers in patients at the same time. This evidence further strengthens the suggestion of the
biological link between depression and CVD through inflammation.
Conclusion: Strategies that can mitigate this risk profile are highly needed in the clinical setting, and these particular
groups of drugs have the possibility of becoming increasingly important in treatment strategies aiming to improve
both the conditions.