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Nervenarzt. 2009 Jul;80(7):805-12. doi: 10.1007/s00115-008-2649-1.

[Interpersonal psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy for post-stroke depression. Feasibility and effectiveness].

[Article in German]

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  • 1BDH-Klinik, Am Tannwald 1-3, 79215, Elzach.



Only few studies investigated the effectiveness of psychotherapy in post-stroke depression (PSD). The aim of this feasibility study was to compare interpersonal psychotherapy, pharmacotherapy, and their combination regarding depression and rehabilitation outcome.


Post-stroke depression was found in 35% of 485 stroke patients examined. Seventy-four PSD patients were randomised to one of three treatment conditions. Severity of depression was measured by the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. The Barthel Index and a questionnaire for health-related quality of life were used as measurements of rehabilitation outcome.


There were no significant differences between the three groups in patient mood or rehabilitation outcome. Concerning the severity of depression, quality of life, and social support, all patients showed benefits from antidepressive treatment. In addition a correlation was found between rehabilitation outcome and depression.


In this feasibility study all antidepressive treatments were successfully implemented in the rehabilitation of post-stroke depressed patients. Combination therapy (interpersonal psychotherapy plus medication) was as effective as one of those elements alone. Because of the small sample size however, further randomized trials are required.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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