Original Article| Volume 24, ISSUE 8, P1886-1892, August 2015

The Effects of Pretreatment versus De Novo Treatment with Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors on Short-term Outcome after Acute Ischemic Stroke


      Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) administered in patients following acute ischemic stroke have shown to improve clinical recovery independently of changes in depression. Animal studies have demonstrated that sustained SSRI treatment is superior to short-term SSRI in evoking neurogenesis but how this benefit translates into humans remains to be answered. We hypothesized that in acute ischemic stroke patients, SSRI treatment started before the event leads to improved short-term outcomes compared to de novo SSRI treatment poststroke.


      We performed an exploratory analysis in consecutive acute ischemic stroke patients and compared patients already receiving fluoxetine, citalopram, or escitalopram with those who started treatment de novo.


      Of 2653 screened patients, 239 were included (age, 69 ± 14 years; 42% men, baseline median National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score, 7 [IQR, 10]). Of these patients, 51 started treatment with SSRI before stroke and 188 were prescribed newly SSRIs during hospitalization. In the adjusted multivariate logistic regression models, SSRI pretreatment was associated with favorable functional outcome at discharge defined as a modified Rankin Scale score of 2 or less (odds ratio [OR], 4.00; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.68-9.57; P < .005), improved early clinical recovery (OR, 2.35; 95% CI, 1.15-4.81; P = .02), and a trend toward prediction of superior motor recovery (OR, 1.82; 95% CI, .90-3.68; P < .01).


      Our data suggest that SSRI pretreatment may improve clinical outcomes in the early stages of acute ischemic stroke supporting the hypothesis that prolonged SSRI treatment started prestroke is superior to poststroke SSRI.

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