Stroke Recovery: Antidepressant May Not Be Beneficial


Results of a study led by researchers from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland suggest an antidepressant commonly prescribed to reduce disability after a stroke may not improve functional outcomes overall. According to the researchers, stroke patients given fluoxetine (Prozac) showed no greater functional improvement than those who received a placebo (inactive pill).

The study — called FOCUS (Fluoxetine Or Control Under Supervision) — involved more than 3,000 stroke patients in over 100 hospitals in the United Kingdom. Half of the study participants began taking fluoxetine daily within two weeks of their stroke, and the other half took a placebo. According to the researchers, stroke survivors taking fluoxetine were less likely to develop depression but had a slightly higher risk of bone fractures.

FOCUS was funded by the United Kingdom’s Stroke Association and National Institute for Health Research, and the results were presented at the U.K. Stroke Forum annual conference in Telford, England. Although these study results don’t support the use of fluoxetine to promote stroke recovery, people taking the drug shouldn’t stop without first speaking to their health care provider.

Sourced from: The Lancet