Antidepressants can boost stroke recovery outcomes

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Proposed regulation would strip nursing home pharmacy providers of oversight duties
Proposed regulation would strip nursing home pharmacy providers of oversight duties
Recovering stroke patients treated with a short course of antidepressants showed greater improvement in physical recovery than stroke patients receiving a placebo, new research finds.

What's more, the physical recovery of the group taking antidepressants continued nine months after the medication was discontinued.

Investigators at the University of Iowa gave 54 patients antidepressants while 29 patients were given a placebo.

Each group took the pills for three months. Using the Rankin Scale, which measures overall physical and motor disability, researchers found that the group taking antidepressants experienced significant reduction of physical disability over a one-year period. Those receiving the placebo improved initially but then their progress leveled off.

Stroke experts say that current stroke treatments focus on restoring blood flow to the brain immediately following an acute ischemic attack. Often, however, those patients miss the short, post-stroke window of opportunity for effective treatment.

“Early administration of an adjunctive medication, an antidepressant, might have an effect on improving outcomes independent of the medication's actions on mood,” said the study's co-author Harold Adams, M.D. The study was published online in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.
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