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J Affect Disord. 1998 May;49(2):141-4.

The SSRI antidepressants: exploring their "other" possible properties.

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1
Psychiatry Unit, Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney, Australia.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Anecdotal reports suggest that the SSRIs may have important properties in addition to their antidepressant effects, possibly modifying mediating variables that dispose to and maintain depression. This preliminary study seeks to identify any such potential variables.

METHODS:

Fifty three subjects who had reported substantial general benefit to their clinician after treatment with an SSRI were requested to retrospectively rate change across a range of constructs assessed by questionnaire.

RESULTS:

Differential effects were identified. Irritability, trait depression, worry and neuroticism scores showed the most marked improvement, with cognitive style components also showing significant positive change. Equally importantly, there was no evidence of a positive response bias across all constructs.

CONCLUSION:

We suggest that the SSRIs may act as "antiworry" agents and reduce irritability, neuroticism and dysfunctional attributions.

LIMITATIONS:

Our study was retrospective and relied on self-report by volunteer patients who had been previously depressed. The study design cannot exclude the possibility that improvement reported on a number of measures may have been due to the amelioration of residual depression.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE:

The SSRIs, recognised as having antidepressant and anti-obsessional properties, may also have the capacity to lower irritability, worrying and neuroticism. This capacity could be useful per se but may, in addition, reduce the occurrence and duration of depressive episodes, particularly by reducing "anxious worrying".

PMID:
9609678
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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