Tuesday, October 18, 2011

SSRI can improve cognition after a stroke

This came out 2/2010, right in the middle of my being horribly overdosed on SSRI and SNRI medications:


(This is where I give myself points for not being violently and irrationally opposed to the class of drugs that did me, personally, so much harm. It's important not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.)

129 patients were divided into roughly 3 groups, one of which got 5-10 mg Lexapro daily, another got placebo, and the third were assigned to "a problem-solving therapy program developed for treating patients with depression." (No idea what program that is and they weren't specific about it.)

The Lexapro group had the best neurocognitive scores after 12 weeks, though the author doesn't say by how much, or how they processed the data. These are both important issues in scientific studies, since some differences are significant and others are just curious, and how you arrived at those figures can have a considerable effect on how seriously your readers should take them.

"...reported changes in neuropsychological performance resulted in an improvement in related activities of daily living" -- which makes perfect sense. When all is said and done, healing of any kind is about what more you can DO afterwards! Doctors, patients, and significant others tend to lose sight of that, getting lost in the compelling drama of symptomatology, misery, and pain. It's not that that isn't important, but being able to take care of yourself -- or making it so your patient can do so -- is absolutely primal.

This study used low doses, which I suspect is key to unimpaired cognitive function -- not to mention avoiding the usual side effects of this class of drugs, as they did.

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