Stroke, depression, and self-harm in later life

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

PURPOSE OF THE REVIEW

To examine recently published results of randomized placebo-controlled trials investigating the clinical effects of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors on the prevalence of clinically significant symptoms of depression and suicidal ideation after an acute stroke.

RECENT FINDINGS

The prevalence of poststroke depression varies markedly according to the approach used to define depression, with recently published data suggesting that about one in every three stroke survivors will experience clinically significant symptoms of depression over a period of 12 months. The proportion of stroke survivors with clinically significant symptoms of depression decreases progressively with time, but in 30% of them symptoms persist or recur over 12 months. Routine daily treatment with 20 mg of fluoxetine for 6 months does not affect the prevalence of depression in this population, nor is it effective at treating or preventing poststroke depressive symptoms. Treatment discontinuation, gastrointestinal adverse effects, seizures and bone fractures are more frequent among stroke survivors treated with antidepressants than placebo. Moreover, current data show that thoughts about death or suicide are more frequent among adults who had a stroke than the general population, although recurring suicidal thoughts are uncommon. Routine daily treatment with 20 mg of fluoxetine for 6 months does not change the proportion of people who disclose suicidal thoughts over a period of 12 months after an acute stroke.

SUMMARY

Current evidence raises concerns about the efficacy and safety of antidepressants for the management and prevention of poststroke clinically significant symptoms of depression. It is unclear if these findings can be generalized to people with severe strokes or to stroke survivors with moderate to severe major depressive episodes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number37395333
Pages (from-to)371-375
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Opinion in Psychiatry
Volume36
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2023

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