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Escitalopram may improve some cognitive functions after stroke in non-depressed patients

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Does the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor escitalopram enhance performance on neuropsychological tests assessing memory and executive functions after stroke?


129 nondepressed patients aged between 50 and 90 years with cerebral hemisphere, brainstem or cerebellar ischemic or haemorraghic stroke. Patients were randomised within 3 months of an index stroke.


University of Iowa Stroke Center, USA; 2003 and 2007.


Escitalopram versus placebo or problem-solving therapy (PST). Escitalopram was given at a dose of 10mg, once daily, for patients aged < 65 years and 5 mg for patients aged ≥ 65 years. The placebo and PST groups were pooled for the main analyses, as the focus of the study was the effect of escitalopram.


Change from baseline status in cognitive function was assessed using a range of tests: immediate memory, visuospatial constructional, language, attention and delayed memory (Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status, RBANS); psychomotor processing speed and cognitive flexibility (Trail-making test parts A and B); verbal fluency (Controlled Oral Word Association test); abstract thinking (Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-III Similarities test); attention and response inhibition …

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