Antidepressants no use in stroke

Prescribers should be wary of prescribing antidepressants to patients following stroke in the hope that they will improve, say experts.

The warning follows US research suggesting that a 12-week course of fluoxetine or nortriptyline can improve long-term executive function.

At a 21-month follow-up, patients who were prescribed antidepressants showed significant improvement in executive function, but those given placebo showed deterioration.

The drugs may boost executive function recovery by affecting monoaminergic nuclei in frontal cortical-subcortical circuits that control executive function, say the University of Iowa team.

Alternatively, antidepressants may boost neurogenesis.

But Professor Allan House, an expert in depression after stroke at the University of Leeds, said: ‘It is a very interesting theory but this research doesn't help one way or another.'

Although 92 people were randomly assigned to an antidepressant or placebo six months after stroke, only 36 completed all evaluations during the 21-month follow-up.  

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus