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J Geriatr Psychiatry Neurol. 2001 Spring;14(1):37-41.

Feasibility and effectiveness of treatments for post-stroke depression in elderly inpatients: systematic review.

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Department of Psychiatry, St. Mary's Hospital and McGill University, Montreal, Quebec.


To determine the feasibility and effectiveness of antidepressive treatments for post-stroke depression in elderly medical inpatients, MEDLINE was searched for potentially relevant articles published from January 1987 to August 1997 using the keywords "depression or depressive disorder" (exploded) and "aged." Thirteen reports met the following inclusion criteria: (1) published in English or French; (2) minimum age criterion of 55 and over or mean age 65 and over; (3) post-stroke subjects admitted to a medical, geriatric, or rehabilitation service; (4) used accepted criteria for depression; (5) examined treatment(s) for depression; and (6) reported outcomes as a depression diagnosis and/or symptom level. Data were abstracted independently from each article by two reviewers. The limited evidence suggests contraindications to treatment of 83% of a group to receive a heterocyclic antidepressant compared with 11% of a group to receive a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI); rates of discontinuation and study completion are similar for heterocyclics, SSRIs and psychostimulants. All of the treatments appear to be at least modestly effective in the short term.

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