US Pharm. 2015;40(3):16-17.

After a systematic review of clinical trials, researchers have concluded that more studies are needed to determine whether antidepressants should be routinely prescribed for acute and chronic postsurgical pain.

Dr. Ian Gilron, a professor and director of clinical pain research in the Department of Anesthesiology, Queen’s University, and his team of seven researchers reviewed 15 trials to determine whether the use of antidepressants for pain relief after surgery would work more effectively than painkillers such as opioids, local anesthetics, or acetaminophen.

Just over half of the trials examined showed a reduction in pain after use of antidepressants. “These results are more than a coincidence,” says Dr. Gilron. “We can conclude from this research review that, while it’s premature to formally recommend these drugs be prescribed for pain, more definitive studies on these medications are necessary.”

The research results were published in the September 2014 edition of Anesthesiology.