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Antidepressants could aid stroke recovery

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Antidepressants could reduce disability and dependency after stroke, even in patients who are not depressed, according to a Cochrane review.

The review looked at 52 studies involving a total of 4,059 patients. It suggested selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors may reduce dependence, physical disability, depression and anxiety in the first year after a stroke.

Improvements in physical disability were greater in patients with depression, yet the study suggested those not depressed could also benefit from taking SSRIs.

The authors said: “Large trials are now needed to confirm or refute these findings, and to determine whether SSRIs increase the risk of side effects such as seizures.

“If effective, SSRIs would be a low-cost, simple and widely applicable treatment for patients with stroke.”

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