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J Gend Specif Med. 2001;4(2):65-72.

Gender differences in depression associated with neurologic illness: clinical correlates and pharmacologic response.

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  • 1University of Iowa Department of Psychiatry, Iowa City, IA, USA.


Functional depression (i.e., depression without neuropathology) occurs approximately twice as often in women as in men. A review of the literature from the period 1966-1999 on the prevalence, clinical correlates, and treatment of depression in neurologic disease revealed a female preponderance of depression in diffuse neurologic disease, including Alzheimer's disease. In focal neurologic disease, the data were consistent for men and women, with a 1:1 ratio. Treatment data on depression in neurologic disease are scant, with the exception of poststroke depression. Although gender-based outcome data on the treatment of functional depression reveal better tolerability and response to serotonin reuptake inhibitors in women than in men, this phenomenon cannot be generalized to depression in neurologic disease. Men seem to consistently respond better than premenopausal women to tricyclic antidepressants in both functional and neurologic disease. Understanding how gender influences depression in neurologic illness and its response to treatment is a necessary step to improve the specificity of psychiatric treatment for depression.

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