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Pain reduction in brain due to antidepressant SNRI medications

22nd July 2019

New research suggested that a network of brain associated with experiencing pain could be a significant target for antidepressant medications. The Trial study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry, revealed that the use of serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) led to alterations in functional architecture of the pain network of brain.

Depression is a disorder which is heterogeneous in nature. The biological process responsible for depression can distinguish from one individual to another.

In the two double-blinded, placebo-controlled trials of 66 participants with consistent depressive disorder, the researchers discovered that SNRI antidepressant medications led to connectivity reduction within the thalamo-cortico-periaqueductal network which is a connection of brain regions associated with pain processing. The modifications in this network were associated with improvements in depressive symptoms.

MRI scans were used by researchers for comparison of brain structure before and after duloxetine 10-week trial and desvenlafaxine 12-week trial.

As per the findings, a brain system related to pain (the ‘pain network’) may be a significant player in at least for some patients with depression and interference that target this brain system might be of particular benefit.

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